Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he feels “horrible” and “embarrassed” by the multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him, but insisted: “I am not going to resign.”
Cuomo, who is serving a third term that expires at the end of next year, vowed to remain in office despite mounting outrage even from his fellow Democrats.
“I was not elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of the state of New York. I’m not going to quit, ”he said.
“I work for the people of New York State. I was elected and I will serve the people of New York State. “
During a press video conference from the Capitol in Albany, Cuomo insisted, “I never touched anyone inappropriately” and promised to cooperate with an independent investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James.
Cuomo also said he was acting against legal advice by telling New Yorkers, “Now I understand that I acted in a way that made people uncomfortable.”
“It was not intentional and I sincerely and deeply apologize for it,” he insisted as his voice trailed off.
“I feel really bad about it and frankly I’m embarrassed and it’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth.”
Speaking at times as if he had been living in a different time, Cuomo said there were “hundreds of photos” showing him kissing both men and women, including members of the state Legislature, as if that was normal behavior in 2021.
“It’s my regular and customary way of saying hello,” Cuomo said. “However, what I also understand is that it doesn’t matter. … What matters is whether anyone was offended by it. “
Cuomo also promised to adjust his acting in the wake of the scandal.
“I understand that sensitivities have changed, behaviors have changed and I am going to learn from that,” he promised.
But Cuomo’s comments about his own behavior and his ignorance of any wrongdoing come after several years of high-profile sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the #MeToo movement sparked by exposure of the predatory behavior of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who took him to jail. for 23 years.
Boylan, now a Democratic nominee for president of the Manhattan borough, also alleged in an online essay that Cuomo told him, “Let’s play poker,” during an October 2017 flight on his official state plane.
Boylan’s claims prompted another former Cuomo adviser, Charlotte Bennett, 25, to allege in a report released Saturday that he asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in her 20s, and left her with the feeling that he “wanted to sleep.” with me.”
And in a report Monday, Anna Ruch, a 33-year-old former White House staff member under then-President Barack Obama, accused Cuomo of approaching her, grabbing her face, and kissing her after she officiated at the wedding. from a woman in 2019. Administration Assistant, Gareth Rhodes, to another former Obama employee, Alexa Kissinger.
Cuomo is the latest high-profile Democrat to face sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the #MeToo movement sparked by exposure of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, which landed him in prison for 23 years.
In 2017, then-US Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) Resigned under pressure from his fellow Democrats following a series of allegations that included a woman who claimed he tried to kiss her after a recording of his radio show more than a decade earlier. .
“It is my right as an entertainer,” the woman said, citing Franken during the incident, which allegedly took place three years before he was elected to the Senate.
And during the 2020 election campaign, President Biden also faced misconduct allegations that included former Nevada Democrat politician Lucy Flores saying it made her feel “uncomfortable, disgusting, and confused” when he grabbed her shoulders from behind and asked her. kissed hair in 2014.
Those claims prompted supporters of then-President Donald Trump to demonstrate at last year’s Democratic National Convention in Wilmington, Delaware, where they chanted, “Creepy Joe has to go!”