ALBANY — Former New York Gov. David Paterson raised questions Thursday about why Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking 14 days to officially leave office following his resignation announcement.
Paterson, a former lieutenant governor who ascended to New York’s top office after Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid his own sex scandal, told WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show that the two-week window before Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul can take over seems dubious.
“It was just a little puzzling that they wanted to have that amount of time,” he said in an interview with Lehrer. “And what they’re going to do with that time, it’s suspicious — I’ll put it that way.”
Paterson said he requested a five-day transition period in order to prepare for his own inauguration after Spitzer said he’d step down in wake of a prostitution scandal. But, he argued, Hochul likely doesn’t need much, if any time, for the transition given the months she’s had to prepare since Cuomo’s scandals first came to light.
“I think in the case of Lt. Gov. Hochul, she has been aware that this situation could occur since March — since the investigation began. So, I think as she was sort of hinting yesterday, she’s ready to take over right now,” he said. “I just think the governor has just not resolved in his mind what’s actually going on yet and his self-awareness just does not seem to be particularly helpful to him at this particular time.”
Paterson added that “when you make these types of decisions, for the good of the state, you want to let governor-in-waiting Hochul start as soon as she’s ready — or says she’s ready.” He later characterized Cuomo as “someone I would never trust.”
Hochul, who addressed Albany reporters Wednesday for the first time since Cuomo’s resignation announcement, said she’s “ready” to take the reins.
“It’s not something we expected or asked for, but I’m fully prepared to assume the responsibilities as the 57th governor of the state of New York,” she said, adding that she would use the transition period to develop her administration’s vision, build out her senior staff and meet with current and potential cabinet officials.
Paterson, who detailed his transition in a 2020 memoir, entitled “Black, Blind & In Charge,” further offered Hochul caution for how her next two weeks could play out.
“There were not many things that I did in those five days that were helping me become governor,” he said. “What I was doing in those five days is staving off these ridiculous situations that were coming my way.”