New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) responded to misconduct allegations that he is facing by saying during a press conference on Wednesday that he “deeply apologized” for his conduct and that he is “embarrassed” over the situation.
“I want to address the recent allegations that have been made against me,” Cuomo said. “As you probably know, the Attorney General is doing an independent review and I will fully cooperate with that review. Now, the lawyers say, I shouldn’t say anything, when you have a pending review until that review is over, I understand that. I’m a lawyer too.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” Cuomo said. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. 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’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” Cuomo said. “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable…And I certainly never ever meant to offend anyone, or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do.”
A tearful @NYGovCuomo on his sexual harassment scandal: "It was unintentional … I feel awful about it. And frankly, I'm embarrassed by it … It's been difficult … for me"
Notably, he denies Lindsey Boylan's claim he kissed her: "Get the facts before informing an opinion." pic.twitter.com/s7Kt94fW4h
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 3, 2021
Cuomo also rejected calls from reporters who asked if it was in the state’s best interests that he resign, saying that he will comply with the investigation being conducting by the New York attorney general.
Cuomo addressed photos that have surfaced of him touching people by saying, “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women. It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
“And I’m embarrassed by it and I feel bad from it. I’m not in this business to make people feel uncomfortable, I’m hear to help them, that’s the essence of what I do,” Cuomo said. “I do not believe that I have never done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of. I didn’t know I was making her uncomfortable at the time, I feel badly that I did. And I’m going to learn from it.”
One reporter asked Cuomo if he has taken the “sexual harassment training required by New York that all employers are to give to their employees,” to which Cuomo responded: “Short answer is yes.”
Cuomo is facing several allegations including that he kissed a former staffer at work and created a hostile work environment that involved sexual harassment; that he asked another female staffer about her sex life at work; and that he made a woman at a wedding feel uncomfortable when he put his hands on her face and asked her if he could kiss her.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information and quotes.