Politics

New York Lt. Gov. Hochul says she believes Cuomo accusers, calls his behavior 'repulsive & unlawful'

Key Points
  • New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted on Tuesday that a report from the state attorney general's office shows "repulsive & unlawful" behavior by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
  • Hochul would replace Cuomo if he were to resign.
  • Cuomo has previously vowed not to step down and on Tuesday denied some of the allegations in the report.
  • "Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service," Hochul said in the statement.
Kathleen Courtney Hochul the Lieutenant Governor of New York addresses the crowd during the Woman's March in the borough of Manhattan in NY on January 18, 2020.
Ira L. Black | Corbis News | Getty Images

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul called Gov. Andrew Cuomo's behavior "repulsive & unlawful" in a statement on Twitter after the state attorney general's office found Tuesday that he sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Hochul would replace Cuomo if he resigned. Cuomo has previously vowed not to step down and on Tuesday denied some of the allegations in the report.

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service," Hochul said in the statement reacting to the bombshell report, which accused Cuomo of unlawful misconduct and cited complaints from 11 women.

"I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward," Hochul's tweet said.

Hochul, 62, until now had avoided criticizing Cuomo in the sexual harassment scandal, even as the 63-year-old governor faced a chorus of calls for his resignation, including from dozens of his fellow Democrats in state, local and federal politics.

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In March, Hochul said she was "confident" that the women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment "will be heard and taken seriously" in the probe from New York Attorney General Letitia James' office.

And just before Cuomo was questioned by investigators last month, Hochul reportedly said it was "still very early in the process to make any conclusions as to political viability."

In her statement Tuesday, Hochul still did not openly call for Cuomo to step down. But she noted, "under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps."

"Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment," Hochul's statement said.

Cuomo on Tuesday strongly denied some of the allegations against him and said that other examples of his alleged misconduct had been mischaracterized or misinterpreted.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who in March had authorized an impeachment investigation into Cuomo, on Tuesday afternoon said, "it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office."

"Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible," Heastie said in a statement.