An emotional governor, Andrew Cuomo, said Wednesday he would not step down on multiple charges of sexual harassment.
“I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said in his first public appearance since the charges surfaced last week. Most of his presentation was devoted to an update on Covid-19 in the state.
Journalists who interviewed him via Zoom did not ask if he still plans to run for a fourth term next year.
Cuomo, a Democrat, faces growing calls for his resignation after former staff member Lindsey Boylan detailed allegations of sexual harassment against him last Wednesday. Two other women – former aide Charlotte Bennett and Anna Ruch, who first met Cuomo at a wedding – have since accused the governor of making unwanted advances.
The governor said he fully supported “a woman’s right to come forward” and apologized for acting “in a way that made people uncomfortable”. He said state attorney general Tish James should complete his investigation into the allegations.
“This is what I want you to know and I want you to know it directly from me: I have never touched anyone inappropriately,” he said. never, never wanted to offend anyone or hurt anyone. Or cause pain to anyone.
“I ask people in this state to wait for the facts of the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion.”
Some high-level staff began to leave as Cuomo’s troubles escalated. Gareth Rhodes, a senior adviser to the governor and familiar face in his press briefings, confirmed to POLITICO that he had left his previous post in the Department of Financial Services. Senior Deputy Press Secretary Will Burns also told the governor’s office he was leaving.
When asked about the issues surrounding her boss, Cuomo’s main assistant Melissa DeRosa echoed the governor by asking the public not to judge until the attorney general’s investigation was concluded.
“I am incredibly proud of the work this administration has done to promote women’s rights, to extend protection for women in the workplace, outside the workplace, maternal health, reproductive health, the list goes on. lengthens over and over again, ”she said. “I don’t think it diminishes anything.”
Although New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and others questioned Cuomo’s ability to lead amid scandals, Cuomo focused most of his briefing on the state’s response to the pandemic. .
He touted plans to reopen the state, changes to travel restrictions, new assembly limits and the rollout of vaccination, highlighting positive developments in the year-long pandemic.
Legislative leaders on Tuesday announced a plan to weaken the heightened emergency powers granted to Cuomo at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year. Republicans and even some Democrats have criticized the deal, arguing it does not go far enough.