Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), has resigned, she said in a statement Sunday night. The resignation comes a week after New York's attorney general released a report finding that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, but DeRosa's statement did not mention the report or its political fallout, which includes widespread calls for Cuomo's resignation and a looming, presumptively successful impeachment effort in the state legislature.
Serving the people of New York for the past 10 years has been "the greatest honor of my life," DeRosa said. "Personally, the past two 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."
DeRosa's departure, the first from Cuomo's inner circle, "represents a huge blow" to the governor, The Washington Post reports. "She served as his fiercest defender and top aide since 2017, and was considered the ultimate loyalist after working for him for the past decade." DeRosa, 38, started as Cuomo's communications director in 2013, and her elevation to secretary to the governor in 2017 made her "the most powerful unelected office in state government," Politico adds. Her resignation is "undoubtedly the most significant loss for the Cuomo administration, even at the end of a week in which the governor has been condemned by everybody from the president to the state legislators who now have the votes to impeach him."
DeRosa's name came up 187 times in Attorney General Letitia James' harassment report, including as a leading organizer of an effort to defend Cuomo and discredit one of his first public accusers. "People who have spoken to DeRosa in the past week said she remained defiant — and even went after journalists on Twitter on Thursday evening," the Post reports. "But by Friday, she had deleted her tweets."
Cuomo has given no sign he intends to step down.