Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on Monday denied the several sexual harassment allegations against him, claiming to have done nothing wrong despite weeks ago admitting he felt “embarrassed” for acting in ways that “made people feel uncomfortable.”
During an appearance at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on Monday, Cuomo essentially dismissed the investigation into his conduct following weeks of women, including former staffers, accusing him of inappropriate behavior.
“The report can’t say anything different, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Cuomo said of the inquiry lodged by state Attorney General, Letitia James, a Democrat.
“I stood there, my cheeks hot, giggling nervously as my male colleagues did the same. We all knew it was wrong, but we did nothing,” Jessica Bakeman claimed, detailing another instance when the governor allegedly “held her body tightly while she said goodnight at a holiday party in 2014,” as Breitbart News detailed.
“He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,” she said. “He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.”
“He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist,” she continued, adding, “The way he bullies and demeans women is different.”
“He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment,” she said.
Another woman, who remained unnamed, detailed an alleged groping incident which she claimed occurred in the governor’s mansion.
“I remember exactly what I was wearing,” the woman told the Times-Union. “I remember him slamming [the door] so hard that I remember thinking to myself that I’m sure the staff is, like, ‘Is everything OK up there?’ He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, ‘Holy shit.'”
Cuomo’s sharp denial follows what some say amounted to an apology early last month, stating he now understood his actions “may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.”
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” he said, claiming to have “never inappropriately touched anybody.”
“And I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” he added.
However, he made it clear that he had no intention of resigning, despite the mounting calls for him to step down.
Democrat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who has been among one of Cuomo’s fiercest critics, has not bought the governor’s explanation.
“On top of it, he’s saying, ‘Oh, I was joking around.’ Sexual harassment’s not funny! Who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around?” de Blasio said during a March interview on the Hot 97 radio show.
“There may be more stories like it, and everyone should come forward, because we’ve got to know the truth. … You cannot treat anyone this way. … It can’t be laughed off, it can’t be swept under the rug,” he added.
Days later, de Blasio bluntly told reporters “no,” Cuomo’s denials are not credible.