In one of the most stunning downfalls in political history, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday with a full-throated defense of his behavior, even after a scathing state Attorney General report found that he sexually harassed and retaliated against multiple women during his time in office.

“I think that, given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside,” Cuomo said from his Manhattan office.

Cuomo’s resignation marks an ignominious end to the Democrat’s three-term run as governor, the same number of terms to which his late father — Gov. Mario Cuomo, whom the younger Cuomo idolized — was elected. By resigning before his term ends, Andrew Cuomo will not match the three full terms that the older Cuomo served.

“This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation,” said the outgoing governor.  “Government really needs to function today, government needs to perform. It is a matter of life and death.”

“Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing [the] state government should be doing.”

The impeachment process, he said, would “consume government.”

“It will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars,” he went on. “It will brutalize people.”

“This situation, by its current trajectory, will generate months of political and legal controversy. That is what we’re going to have. That is how the political wind is blowing.”