New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday insisted that he will not resign as sexual harassment accusations have mounted against him in the last week. He also apologized again for making women feel uncomfortable and said he was “embarrassed” by his behavior — but denied touching anyone inappropriately.
“I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” Cuomo said at the end of a coronavirus briefing. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
He also sought to distance himself from the growing firestorm. “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable and I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone, or hurt anyone, or cause anyone any pain,” he said. “I’m embarrassed that somebody I interacted with felt that way.”
As calls for his resignation have mounted, including from some Democrats, Cuomo asked New Yorkers to “wait for the facts” from the state attorney general’s investigation into the accusations “before forming an opinion,” but assured them he will “fully cooperate” with the probe.
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation — for me as well as other people — I have learned an important lesson. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it and I will be the better for this experience,” he concluded.
In recent weeks, Cuomo — who was praised at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic for his frequent and transparent briefings — has faced mounting criticism for not only his handling of nursing homes in his state during the pandemic, but for allegedly sexually harassing multiple women. Two accusers were formerly his aides.
His brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has also been criticized for friendly interviews with the governor last year. Earlier this week, the primetime anchor told his audience that, of course, he can’t cover the accusations of misconduct against his politician brother. Observers suggested he never should have covered him at all.
Over the weekend, the governor released a statement to acknowledge that some of his comments have been “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”