Melissa DeRosa, a top aide for Governor Andrew Cuomo, resigned this week after investigators alleged that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women while in office. As Cuomo faces a possible impeachment, his once-loyal supporters are abandoning him.
The 38-year-old was one of Cuomo‘s longest supporting staffers. DeRosa worked through the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic alongside Cuomo. She remained loyal to the governor despite controversies and was a fixture on his Covid-19 briefings for the New York public.
Her resignation came right before a meeting of the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee which could determine a timeline for Cuomo’s potential impeachment. The reason for her resignation is unclear. Politicians in New York are scrambling to figure out what this resignation will mean for Cuomo and his future in the New York state government.
The Democratic governor has been asked to resign by members of his own party, including President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
DeRosa issued a statement regarding her resignation. “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,” the aide said. “New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times have inspired me every day. Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state.”
Melissa DeRosa landed a position in Cuomo’s office after working for former state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. She was the chief of staff for Schneiderman, who resigned in 2018 after four women accused him of physical abuse.
She was appointed secretary to the governor back in 2017 and became the youngest and only female appointed to the role. She was considered Cuomo’s right-hand woman and has been very vocal about women’s reproductive rights. DeRosa helped Cuomo secure paid family leave and a $15 minimum wage for New York citizens.
In a report made by Attorney General Tish James regarding the alleged sexual harassment, DeRosa’s name was mentioned many times. In the 165-page report, her name came up nearly 200 times in connection to Cuomo’s allegations. According to the report, she was instrumental in trying to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsey Boylan.
The report said that DeRosa tried to release Boylan’s personal documents and write a letter that questioned Boylan’s character. The letter was never made public. DeRosa has not commented on the report or the allegations against her and Cuomo regarding the sexual harassment case.
Before the allegations of sexual harassment, DeRosa was also involved in the Covid-19 scandal from February 2020. Then Cuomo and his government were accused of underreporting the number of nursing home deaths related to Covid-19. They were also accused of lying to the American public about how well the government was doing in helping its citizens.
During last year’s controversy, Cuomo was called to resign. He and DeRosa were accused of getting in the way of justice. Back in February 2021, DeRosa spoke to state lawmakers regarding the scandal.
“We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout,” she said at the time. “As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic.”
In the wake of DeRosa’s resignation, Cuomo’s future is uncertain. The governor faces mounting allegations and a political party that is ready to let him go.