New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul addressed the public for the first time Wednesday, attempting to distance herself from disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo by saying they have “not been close, physically or otherwise,” during her six years in office.
During a press conference in Albany, Hochul said Cuomo had promised for a peaceful transition of power and that the “toxic” work environment he reportedly created in the executive chamber would not continue under her leadership.
“There will be turnover” in her administration, Hochul said. “I think it’s very clear that the governor and I have not been close, physically or otherwise, in terms of much time.”
“I’m going to stand right here, at the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” she said.
Hochul, a Democrat who served briefly in Congress representing a Buffalo-area district, will be the first woman to become governor of New York.
Cuomo, 63, on Tuesday announced his resignation effective Aug. 24 following state Attorney General Letitia James’ bombshell report saying he sexually harassed 11 women from 2013 to 2020 in violation of state and federal law.
The governor said during a press conference that he’s “deeply” sorry for any behavior deemed inappropriate during his time in office but denied the sexual harassment allegations contained in the investigation.
Hochul, 62, tweeted shortly after Cuomo’s announcement that she agreed with his decision.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down,” she wrote. “It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. 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.”