(NEXSTAR) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to abandon his battle to stay in office amid a wave of sexual harassment allegations has renewed focus on the #MeToo movement and set off a power shift in one of the nation’s most significant elected offices.
The 63-year-old Democrat had denied wrongdoing for weeks – describing allegations as a “political attack” – and while he did apologize for some behavior, he stopped short of acknowledging many of the allegations against him during a televised address Tuesday.
The change of fortunes for a governor once applauded for his public leadership during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis set off a flurry of reaction on social media. Including relief from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Cuomo’s successor also voiced support for the resignation.
The White House said it looks forward to working with Hochul, who is expected to take over in two weeks.
Hochul will now be thrust into the spotlight on short notice. A position one former Republican governor feels could be harrowing.
Republican New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik described the resignation as long overdue and called on authorities to prosecute Cuomo.
“This is a story about these courageous women who came forward,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing Tuesday.
Politicians on both sides of the political aisle openly criticized Cuomo, with some using the moment to celebrate and make jokes at his expense.
California Congressman and fellow Democrat Ted Lieu questioned how remorseful Cuomo was, saying, “He resigned because he was going to be impeached, and he knew it would be successful because Democrats were not going to protect a sexual harasser.”