Just as the news media and others had convinced themselves that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was determined to draw out the impeachment process, insist on his innocence and remain defiant, he resigned, saying today that he would officially step down in 14 days.
I cannot find a full text of Cuomo’s resignation speech, not is there a video that WordPress lets me embed. You can watch it here.
1. Good. Everything else aside, resigning was the right thing to do, and the best outcome for the state. It doesn’t matter if the resignation itself was graceful or appropriately contrite— it wasn’t—or whether Cuomo would have stayed on and roiled the government indefinitely if he thought he could survive. It’s the most ethical decision even if his reasons for it and his method of doing so were unethical.
2. Hanging around for two weeks after resigning is unusual for an elected official resigning during a scandal. Cuomo will be a kind of super-lame duck. In theory, saying two weeks to help with an orderly transition is responsible. In practice, I expect it to be chaotic. He may not last the full 14 days.
3. Cuomo began his announcement by attacking the accusations against him and the process that brought hum down. So much for accepting accountability and admitting wrongdoing. He blamed the political environment (“there are many motivations at play, if anyone thought otherwise they would be naive”), his political enemies, social media, and rapid cultural changes that were just too darn sudden. He never admitted that he did something wrong. Incredibly, Cuomo presented himself up as a victim.
4. And, incredibly enough, a selfless hero. “I work for you and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you because as we say, it’s not about me, it’s about we,” Cuomo said, agreeing that fighting the wave of opposition in the wake of the sexual harassment accusations would throw New York into months of turmoil. “I cannot be the cause of that,” he said. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government. And therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you” What a guy! This is, as we know by now, standard face-saving strategy. It’s still nauseating when it is not accompanied by a genuine apology and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.