New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday denied allegations of sexual misconduct laid out in a report by state Attorney General Letitia James, signalling that he has no plans to resign.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately, or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said in a pre-recorded video, which included an eyebrow raising montage of photos of the governor hugging and kissing constituents and lawmakers over the years. “I am 63-years-old. I lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am and that is now who I have ever been. It’s important to me that you fully understand that.”
“I do kiss people on the forehead. I do kiss people on the cheek. I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people. I do hug people. Men and women,” the governor continued. “I do on occasion say ‘Ciao Bella.’ On occasion, I slip and say ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’ or ‘honey.'”
“My job is not about me. My job is about you. What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. And that is what I do every day. And I will not be distracted from that job,” he added.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "My job is not about me. My job is about you. What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. And that is what I do every day. And I will not be distracted from that job." https://t.co/ey8eOiqiy3 pic.twitter.com/Tek40iZN4D
— The Hill (@thehill) August 3, 2021
Earlier Tuesday, James released the findings of her nearly five-month investigation, which accused Cuomo of sexually harassing multiple women and overseeing an office with a “hostile work environment” that is “rife with fear and intimidation.”
“Specifically, the investigation found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive sexual nature, that created a hostile work environment for women,” James said at a press conference.
Last winter there was a chorus of calls for Cuomo’s resignation from many top elected Democrats in New York, including two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. But Cuomo refused to quit and has been raising money for a fourth term in office.
His position on the allegations has also hardened into one of defiance. Cuomo has always denied touching anyone inappropriately, but he initially said he was sorry if his behavior with women was “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.” In recent months, he’s taken a more combative tack, saying he did nothing wrong and questioning the motives of accusers and critics.
He has also questioned the neutrality of the lawyers hired by the attorney general to investigate the allegations. One of the attorneys, Joon Kim, was involved in previous investigations of corruption by people in Cuomo’s administration when he was a federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Cuomo hasn’t expressly said why he believes that would make Kim biased.
The attorney general’s report is expected to play an important role in an ongoing inquiry in the state Assembly into whether there are grounds for Cuomo to be impeached.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.