US Cuomo apologizes amid sexual harassment claims but says he won't resign
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"It appears he's earned himself a primary," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.Now, two months later, he’s embroiled in two major scandals and facing a daily onslaught of questions about deaths in nursing homes, accusations of sexual impropriety and growing speculation that his political career may be in jeopardy.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday publicly addressed the claims of sexual harassment against him, apologizing for remarks he said "made people feel uncomfortable" but rebuffing demands that he resign.
"I was elected by the people of the state of New York," Cuomo said, in his first televised remarks since multiple claims became public. "I'm not going to resign."
After delivering a lengthy briefing on the state of pandemic, Cuomo turned his attention to three allegations of harassment he faces.
"I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this. First, I fully support a woman's right to come forward. And I think it should be encouraged in every way," he 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."
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"I feel awful about it," Cuomo said. "And frankly, I am embarrassed by it. And that's not easy to say. But that's the truth. But this is what I want you to know, and I want you to know this from me directly. I never touched anyone inappropriately.
He then pled for New Yorkers "to wait for the facts from the attorney general's report before forming an opinion."
New York Attorney General Letitia James isinto the allegations.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone," he added. "I never intended it and I will be the better for this experience."
Cuomo's remarks followed allegations from three women who have said the Democratic governor made them feel uncomfortable.
Last week,, a deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo from 2015 to 2018, expanded on a December tweet saying Cuomo "sexually harassed me for years." , Boylan detailed her experience, which she said included an unwanted kiss from Cuomo. In a statement to , Cuomo spokesperson Caitlin Girouard said, "There is simply no truth to these claims."
Gov. Cuomo faces calls to resign from lawmakers after 3rd woman comes forward
Rep. Kathleen Rice has become the first New York Democrat in Congress to call for him to step down. "The time has come. The Governor must resign," Rice, a former district attorney, tweeted Monday night.
Then former, 25, told last week that Cuomo made several inappropriate remarks about her sex life. Cuomo has denied that he was attempting to make an overture.
This week,reported that Anna Ruch, who had not met Cuomo before crossing paths with him at a New York City wedding in 2019, said Cuomo touched her lower back with his hand, which Ruch removed. She said Cuomo then placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her.
"I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed," Ruch told the publication, which ran a photo showing Cuomo with both hands on Ruch's cheeks at the event.
Cuomo responded to Ruch's account and the photo evidence of it, saying that there are "hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with many people."
"Women, men, children, etcetera," he added. "You can find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. Men, women. It is my customary way of greeting. You know that because you've watched me for more years."
"By the way, it was my father's way of greeting people," he said, pointing to former Gov. Mario Cuomo. "You want people to feel comfortable, you reach out to them."
He said he now understands his "intent" is not relevant.
"What matters is if anyone was offended by it — and I could intend no offense — but if they were offended by it then it was wrong," he said. "And if they were hurt by it then I apologize. And if they felt pain from it, then I apologize. I didn't intend it, I didn't mean it that way."
Andrew Cuomo's Sexual Harassment Bill Lowered Bar for Complaints, Eliminated 'Severe' Requirement .
The Democratic New York governor has been accused of sexually harassing three women—including two of his former employees. On February 24, Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, detailed sexual harassment allegations against the governor that included unwanted sexual advances such as a forceable kiss and an invitation to play strip poker. In a blog post, Boylan said that Cuomo had "created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.