Cuomo’s Top Aide, Melissa DeRosa, Resigns as He Fights to Survive
ALBANY, NY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s senior aide Melissa DeRosa said on Sunday evening that she had resigned, less than a week after the New York State Attorney General released a report concluding that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.
The report revealed that Ms DeRosa, one of Mr Cuomo’s most trusted confidants and strategists, had led the retaliatory efforts against one of the women who spoke publicly about his allegation in December.
His resignation came just as Mr Cuomo, a Democrat for a third term, faces impeachment and asks him to step down in the wake of the report.
Ms DeRosa was a staple of Mr Cuomo’s coronavirus briefings during the pandemic, but had been criticized earlier this year for her involvement in the administration’s efforts to hide the extent of deaths in nursing homes nurses, an issue that is under investigation by federal authorities and the State Assembly.
Ms DeRosa, who is 38, said in a statement Sunday that “the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying.”
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. The resilience, strength and optimism of New Yorkers in the most difficult times has inspired me every day, ”she said. “I am eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to work with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state.”
As the governor’s secretary, Ms. DeRosa was the most powerful appointed official in the state. When Mr. Cuomo appointed her to this position in 2017, she became one of the youngest to hold the position and the first woman to hold the position. She joined the Cuomo administration in 2013 as director of communications and was promoted two years later to chief of staff.
Attorney General’s report paints an unflattering picture of Ms DeRosa and her role in promoting a toxic workplace and attacking the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official who had accused Mr Cuomo of sexual harassment in December.
After Ms Boylan posted her allegation on Twitter, Ms DeRosa orchestrated an effort among state officials and outside allies to disclose Ms Boylan’s personal files, which contained sensitive information, in an effort to undermine her credibility. She also helped write, edit, and distribute a derogatory letter that was never published, but attacked Ms. Boylan’s character nonetheless.
As part of those efforts, Ms DeRosa also asked a former staff member to call a female Cuomo staff member who had expressed support for Ms Boylan on Twitter, ask for information and record the conversation. telephone, according to the report.
Understanding the scandals that challenge Governor Cuomo’s leadership
Lawyers for Mr. Cuomo have called the investigation by state attorney general Letitia James biased and sloppy, while Mr. Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately. He said some women may have misinterpreted his hugs, cheek kisses or jokes as inappropriate.
Ms DeRosa, considered one of Mr Cuomo’s most loyal assistants, has stood by the governor’s side for years even as her inner circle shrinks and many of the key staff who hold her had helped elect him in 2010 left the administration.
As Mr. Cuomo’s right-hand man, she was deeply involved in navigating the governor’s priorities through the state legislature and helped Mr. Cuomo secure policies such as the $ 15 minimum wage and paid family leave. She has also served as chair of the New York State Council on Women and has spoken out on women’s reproductive issues.
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