New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday lashed out at top Democrats who have called for his resignation as sexual harassment accusations against him have mounted.
“Politicians who don’t know the facts and form an opinion are reckless and dangerous,” Cuomo said during a press conference. “The people should not have confidence in a politician who does not know any facts of substance. That is politics at its worst.”
Cuomo repeated his earlier statements that he has no plans to resign even as the number of women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior has grown to a half dozen: “I am not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians. I was elected by the people,” he added.
He also said, “Women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully, but I also want to be clear that there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged.”
Cuomo added that “there are often many motivations for making an allegation and that it why you need to know the facts before you make the decision.” For now, he said, he will continue to focus on his job.
In a similar press conference on March 3, Cuomo apologized 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 time. “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 at that time. “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.”
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, including former 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.