Cuomo detractors say resignation shouldn't be end of scandal, governor should be 'prosecuted and arrested'

Some critics also said the resignation should not be the end of accountability for Cuomo, who New York Attorney General Letitia James said broke state and federal laws with his behavior spanning years.

“Governor Cuomo’s resignation is long past overdue,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said. “Now, former Governor Cuomo needs to be prosecuted and arrested for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual grooming.”

“The corrupt reign of King Cuomo is over at last, but the fight for justice and accountability is just beginning,” Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., said in a statement shortly after his resignation. “Investigations into Cuomo’s abuse of power, corruption, and criminal misconduct must continue. Cuomo should be immediately prosecuted, not just for sexual harassment and assault, but also for his deadly nursing home policies and subsequent cover up.”

NY GOV. CUOMO RESIGNS AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL

Tenney added: “Those who aided and abetted Cuomo over these many years must also answer for their crimes and corruption.”

Cuomo began his Tuesday press conference defending himself, saying that his offending comments were often joking and – repeating a defense he previously used against allegations of unwanted groping – that he touches all people. 

“I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men.” Cuomo said. “In my mind I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”

TIME’S UP CHAIRWOMAN RESIGNS AMID BACKLASH FOR EFFORT TO AID CUOMO, DISCREDIT ONE OF HIS ACCUSERS

But rather than continue to fight against the political storm that has been brewing since last spring when the governor came under fire for forcing nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients, Cuomo said he would resign, effective later this month. 

“I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated,” Cuomo said. “Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. And I cannot be the cause of that… I think that given the circumstances the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore that’s what I’ll do.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the resignation at a press conference Tuesday. She said James’ investigation and the scandal itself “concluded today in an outcome that the president called for just last week.”

“The president made clear his views last week and those stand. Our view is that this is a story of those courageous women who came forward, told their stories, shared their stories,” Psaki said.

Psaki also said Biden has not talked to Cuomo and the White House did not have advance notice of the resignation.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a brief statement Tuesday that she is ready to take over for Cuomo. 

“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers,” she said. “As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the alleged victims of Cuomo’s sexual harassment for speaking about their experiences. 

“Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York,” de Blasio said. 

Fox News’ Jeremy Copas and Tamara Gitt contributed to this report. 

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