A defiant Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Sunday that “there is no way” he will resign over allegations of sexual harassment, now brought against him by five women, dismissing calls for his resignation on “political” grounds.
“I was elected by the people of the state. I was not elected by politicians, ”Cuomo said during a short conference call with reporters. “I’m not resigning because of accusations.”
The governor spoke a day after two other former employees, Ana Liss and Karen Hinton, accused him of misconduct, including inappropriate physical contact. – in addition to previous allegations from fellow former aides Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, as well as Anna Ruch.
“The premise of resigning on charges is actually undemocratic,” Cuomo said. “Anyone has the ability to make an accusation in a democracy and that’s great. But it is in the credibility of the accusation. “
An “embarrassed” Cuomo last week offered a conditional apology “yes [his accusers] they were offended ”by his comments, while vehemently denying the allegations of inappropriate physical contact.
Cuomo on Sunday characterized Hinton as a “long-time political adversary of mine,” alleging that her allegation to the Washington Post that he grabbed her inside a dimly lit hotel room during a trip to Los Angeles in 2000 ” it wasn’t true. “
“Millisecond. Hinton, every woman has the right to come forward. That’s true,” Cuomo said. “But the truth also matters. What she said is not true.
“As everyone who has been involved in New York politics at any level knows, she has been one of my political adversaries for a long time, very critical for many, many years and has made many, many accusations,” Cuomo said.
At the time Cuomo allegedly grabbed Hinton in a way she described as “too long, too long, too tight, too intimate,” he was serving as head of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He subsequently served as a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent political rival of Cuomo, and last month he was one of several people on the New York political landscape who spoke out against the alleged pattern of ” intimidation “of the governor. behaviour.
When asked about Liss’s accusation that he asked her inappropriate questions about her love life, Cuomo said only that she engaged in “friendly pranks.”
As for Liss citing a photograph taken during a reception in 2014 that showed the governor with his hand around his waist, Cuomo said that over the years he had posed for photos with hundreds of people, both men and women.
“We take photos with people. If you like the photo, you frame it, put it on your desk, ”Cuomo said. “If you don’t like the image, you throw it away. That is your right.
“I never wanted to make anyone feel welcome in any way.”
When asked point-blank if he was accusing women of lying about experiences, Cuomo offered a seemingly contradictory answer.
“Did not say. “I just said that what Karen Hinton said was not true.”
The third-term Democrat said demands for his resignation, which have come from both sides of the political aisle, are motivated by politics, an explanation he previously offered in response to bipartisan calls for an investigation into his administration’s handling of the coronavirus in nursing. homes.
“There is politics in politics,” he laughed.
“I have political differences with the people. I have political differences with the Republicans. I have political differences with the senator. [Alessandra] Biaggi, ”Cuomo continued, referring to the Democratic state legislator among those calling for the governor to step down.
“But they do not override the will of the people,” he said. “They do not annul the elections.”
Arguing the benefit of the allegations being investigated in private until such time as they are substantiated, Cuomo suggested that Biaggi would not like the allegations to be litigated in public.
“If that’s what Sen. wants to do. Biaggi, let’s release all allegations that JCOPE [the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics] and the attorney general and the prosecutors have about the members of the Senate, and then we are going to put them in the public arena, and then we decide publicly … if this indictment causes a person to resign, “Cuomo said. “That’s absurd.”
Cuomo firmly maintained that he would not resign. “That’s democracy,” he said, referring to due process and letting investigations, such as the one initiated by the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, run their course. “There is no way I’m quitting.”