Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced New York governor, has publicly announced his resignation in the wake of a damning report on sexual harassment, conducted by Letitia James, the state attorney general.
Following a five-month investigation, James has concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, most of whom were colleagues, violating civil law against workplace harassment and retaliation and creating a “toxic workplace”.
Cuomo will step down in two weeks time. The Democratic governor had little choice – he has lost the backing of his own party establishment. Joe Biden himself has called on Cuomo to resign – alongside House speaker Nancy Pelosi, both of New York’s US Senators and Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor.
But was Cuomo’s message one of true remorse? Not exactly.
In his public announcement, the 63-year-old criticised attorney-general Letitia James’s report, lamenting the dangers of “a bias or a lack of fairness in the justice system”.
The man who previously presented himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement acknowledged that the elevne women James claims he harassed were probably “truly offended”, and “for that I deeply, deeply apologise.”
But, he added, in his mind, he has “never crossed the line with anyone” and he “did not realise the extent to which the line has been redrawn”.
Sign up for our FREE Reaction Weekend Email
Read the week's best-read articles on politics, business and geopolitics
Receive offers and exclusive invites
Plus uplifting cultural commentary
He also insisted there was “no factual basis” to the allegation being levelled at him that he reached under the blouse of an employee and grabbed her breast.
Kathy Hochul, the New York lieutenant governor and Cuomo’s Number two, is set to replace him and become the first woman to lead New York state. She has already condemned his behaviour as “repulsive and unlawful.”
At the start of the pandemic, many regarded Cuomo as a national hero thanks to his clear daily TV briefings in which he urged Trump to take the threat of coronavirus more seriously. His name was even thrown around, somewhat implausibly, as a potential candidate for the presidency.
A lot can change in the space of a year.