New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) delivered his first public remarks since being accused of sexual harassment, declaring in a press conference: “I never touched anyone inappropriately.”
“The lawyers say that I shouldn’t say anything until that review is over, I’m a lawyer too, but I want New Yorkers to hear directly from me on that. I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, it should be encouraged in every way,” Cuomo said. “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, I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it, and that is not easy to say but it is the truth.”
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) March 3, 2021
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” the governor added. “I never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Cuomo then urged New Yorkers to wait for the facts to be made public prior to judging the situation.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts of the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion, get the facts please before forming an opinion,” Cuomo urged.
Cuomo then made clear that he will not resign from his post, saying: “I’m going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do.”
Cuomo then apologized for making anyone feel uncomfortable, calling the allegations an “important lesson”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredible, difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve 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,” the governor said.
Cuomo hadn’t spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting.
Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations.
And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.