Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), resigned late Sunday night as pressure continues to mount for Cuomo to step down from office.
DeRosa, 38, joined the Cuomo administration in 2013 as communications director, and over the years, rose to become “the most powerful appointed official in the state,” reports The New York Times. She was also described by the Times as Cuomo’s “right-hand woman,” as she was highly involved in helping to make Cuomo’s political priorities a reality.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,” she said in a statement. “New Yorkers’ resilience, strength and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day. 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.”
NEW: @melissadderosa resigns as Secretary for @NYGovCuomo.
Her statement: pic.twitter.com/ierDKCzzZY
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) August 9, 2021
DeRosa has been a key figure in Cuomo’s office, particularly amidst his recent scandals.
According to the state attorney general’s report, DeRosa was the person who requested the “full file” of accuser Lindsay Boylan after Boylan publicly accused Cuomo of being “one of the biggest abusers of all time.” Later, on December 13, 2020, when Boylan accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her, DeRosa played a role in deciding to release confidential files about Boylan to various media outlets in a purported effort to cast doubt on her credibility.
She also played a role in drafting an op-ed about Boylan and in soliciting feedback for it on behalf of the governor. While the op-ed was never published, the state attorney general found the drafting and circulation “constituted unlawful retaliation.”
As Cuomo’s top aide, DeRosa also had a hand in his nursing home scandal.
DeRosa was the person who told state Democrats, during a call last year, that the Cuomo administration withheld the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the legislature because they feared the data could be turned into a “political football.”
As the New York Post, which obtained audio of the call, reported at the time:
“He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” DeRosa said. “He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”
In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call.
Assemblymember Ron Kim, a Democrat on the call, spoke up about the nursing home deaths and told CNN that, subsequently, Cuomo called him “to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said.”