New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly addressed the sexual harassment allegations against him on Wednesday, apologizing for the remarks he said “made people uncomfortable,” but rejecting requests to resign .
“I was elected by the people of New York State,” Cuomo said, in his first televised remarks since the multiple demands became public. “I am not going to resign.”
After giving a lengthy briefing on the state of the pandemic, Cuomo turned his attention to three harassment allegations he faces.
“I want New Yorkers to hear me straight on this. First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. And I think that should be encouraged in any way,” he said. declared. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people uncomfortable. It was unintentional. And I really and deeply apologize.”
“I feel bad about it,” Cuomo said. “And frankly, that bothers me. And it’s not easy to say. But it’s the truth. But that’s what I want you to know, and I want you to know it directly from me. never touched anyone inappropriately. “
He then pleaded with New Yorkers “to await the facts of the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the allegations.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry for the pain I have caused someone,” he added. “I never wanted it and I will be the best for this experience.”
Cuomo’s remarks follow allegations by three women who said the Democratic governor made them uncomfortable.
Last week Lindsey Boylan, assistant secretary for economic development and special advisor to Cuomo from 2015 to 2018, developed a tweet from December saying he “had sexually harassed me for years.” In an essay published on Medium, Boylan detailed her experience, which she said included an unwanted kiss from Cuomo. In a statement to NBC New York, Cuomo spokesperson Caitlin Girouard said, “There is simply no truth in these claims.”
Cuomo’s former assistant Charlotte Bennett, 25, told the New York Times last week that he made several inappropriate comments about his sex life. Cuomo denied attempting to make an opening.
This week, The Times reported that Anna Ruch, who had not met Cuomo before crossing paths with him at a wedding in New York in 2019, said he touched her lower back with her main, which Ruch removed. She said Cuomo then placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her.
“I was so confused, shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch told the publication, which posted a photo showing Cuomo with his hands on his cheeks at the event.
Cuomo responded to Ruch’s account and photographic evidence of it, saying that there are “hundreds of photos of me doing the same gesture with many people.”
“Women, men, children, etc.,” he added. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. Men, women. It’s my usual way of greeting. You know that because you’ve been watching me for more years.”
“By the way, that was my father’s way of greeting people,” he said, pointing to former Governor Mario Cuomo. “You want people to feel comfortable, you reach out to them.
He said he now understands that his “intention” is irrelevant.
“What matters is that someone was offended by it – and I couldn’t want it – but if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he said. “And if they were hurt by this, then I apologize.” And if they felt pain from it, then I apologize. I hadn’t wanted it, I didn’t mean it that way.
And Debra Katz, an attorney representing Bennett, accused Cuomo of spreading “lies and inaccurate information” about the allegations he faces.
“The governor has repeatedly said he has no idea he is making anyone uncomfortable,” she said. “My client, Charlotte Bennett, immediately reported her sexual harassment behavior to her Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel. We are confident that they informed her of her complaint.”