CNN presenter Chris Cuomo – who has previously been criticized for blurring the lines between his personal and professional relationship with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – wrote a statement for the latter in response to allegations of sexual misconduct in February.
The suggested statement came in the form of an email uncovered by New York Attorney General Leticia James’ investigation into Cuomo, the findings of which were released at a press conference on Tuesday morning. “Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed several women and in doing so violated federal and state laws,” said James.
Governor Cuomo had apparently weathered the storm earlier this year, but the 165-page report prompted further calls for his resignation, including from several New York Democrats. Young Cuomo was already known to have helped counsel his brother during the first wave of criticism, but reports reveal new details about his involvement. The wording suggested by the anchor reads as follows:
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.
I spend most of my life at work and my colleagues are often personal friends too. I never intended to offend anyone or cause harm.
sometimes [sic] I am a player and make jokes. You have seen me do this in briefings hundreds of times. My only desire is to add a little levity and joke to what is a very serious matter.
I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or overly personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel feelings that I never expected. I’m sorry and I feel deeply embarrassed about this.
Also, my office has heard that some people have contacted Ms. Bennett to express their displeasure at her coming forward. My message to anyone doing this is that you misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.
As Conservative commentator Katie Pavlich points out, the statement bears a striking resemblance to the one released by the governor later that same day.
After the first allegations against Governor Cuomo were made during the winter, Chris announced on his show that “Obviously I know what’s going on with my brother. Obviously I can’t cover him because he’s my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and will continue to do so.
Previously, he had brought his brother to his program on several occasions. In June 2020, he praised him and described his reaction to the governor’s performance during the pandemic thus:
“I am in awe of what you did, and more importantly, I am in awe of how you did it. It was very hard. I know it’s not over yet. But obviously I love you like a brother, obviously I will never be objective, obviously I think you are the best politician in the country.
New York has one of the worst per capita COVID-19 death rates in the country.
CNN’s head of strategic communications Matt Dornic did not respond to a request for comment. After it was announced that Chris was involved in responding to the allegations, CNN refused to discipline him. When it emerged that Cuomo had requested and received special treatment from his brother, Dornic defended him as having “turned to whomever he could for advice and help, as any human being would.”