Schneiderman resigned in scandal. Here's how politicians are reacting.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Schneiderman resigned in scandal. Here's how politicians are reacting.

The attorney general stepped down hours after a report he physically abused four women.
May 7, 2018

New York was rocked by stunning revelations that four women had accused state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of physical abuse and by his decision, within a few hours of the publication of the allegations, to announce his resignation.

The allegations, reported by The New Yorker, were all the more shocking since Schneiderman has a record of advocating for women when he was in the state Legislature and as an attorney general, and he was currently prosecuting Harvey Weinstein, the former film producer whose alleged sexual misconduct spurred a national reckoning over the treatment of women by powerful men. Schneiderman had one of New York’s most prominent figures, with the campaign cash and a host of endorsements from women’s organizations to prove it, and he had enjoyed a rising national reputation for taking on President Donald Trump.

But Schneiderman’s political future changed rapidly since the allegations were revealed on Monday evening, including detailed allegations from two women who spoke on the record about what they endured. In a statement issued late Monday evening, Schneiderman continued to maintain his innocence but said he could no longer carry out the duties of his office effectively.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York," he said. "In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

New York’s political leaders did not stay silent on the issue for long, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo promptly calling on Schneiderman to step down. Here is a roundup of reactions from other New York officials.

Schneiderman initially denied the allegations, insisting that he had not assaulted anyone:

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Schneiderman sent the above statement, and added another from his ex-wife, Jennifer Cunningham, who has continued to serve as a political consultant for him:

“I’ve known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend. These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father. I find it impossible to believe these allegations are true.”

Cuomo was among the first to call for Schneiderman to resign, saying it would be “for the good of the office”:

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has earned a reputation for calling out those accused of sexual misconduct, also said Schneiderman had to resign:

Neil Kwatra, Schneiderman’s former chief of staff, had harsh words for his former boss:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, whose sizeable Assembly majority will give him great sway over picking a replacement since it's up to the state Legislature to replace him, suggested the attorney general should step aside. "These are very serious allegations," he said in a statement. "I support Governor Cuomo's call for a thorough investigation. Based on what has been reported, I believe it will be very difficult for Eric Schneiderman to continue as New York State Attorney General."

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined those calling for Schneiderman's resignation.

But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio remained mum.

A de Blasio spokesman said he would address the allegations on Tuesday.

Several other prominent New York Democrats - including state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer - did not immediately respond to the scandal enveloping Schneiderman, either. Neither did New York City Public Advocate Letitia James or Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice, both rumored to be potential candidates to replace Schneiderman. 

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli weighed in only after Schneiderman announced his resignation:

Cynthia Nixon, who is mounting a Democratic challenge against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also issued a statement after Schneiderman had already announced his resignation:

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who has been mulling a primary challenge of her own against Cuomo, had perhaps the most straightforward take:

At least one Republican senator, Robert Ortt, criticized Schneiderman - although he, like Cuomo, has an antagonistic history with the attorney general:

Similarly, New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said that “It’s clear Mr. Schneiderman has no place holding any public office, let alone as the state’s highest law enforcement officer. He must resign from office and be held accountable for his crimes.”

Schneiderman’s Republican opponent, Manny Alicandro, who officially announced his candidacy earlier on Tuesday, agreed: “I believe the accusers. He needs to resign his office immediately and the New York City Police Department needs to get to work.”

Meanwhile, some women’s groups expressed outrage:

Even Donald Trump, Jr. had something to add:

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.
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