New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would not resign over several allegations of sexual harassment by young women and instead offered an apology and a willingness to “fully cooperate” with an investigation into his conduct.
“I am not going to resign,” he told a press conference, saying the calls for his resignation were politically motivated.
Cuomo’s public profile and popularity increased last year when New York City was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, and he began performing daily television updates on coronaviruses.
His reassuring demeanor won him favor with New Yorkers who, during statewide lockdowns, were glued to his lengthy press conferences, in which he spoke about the virus, politics and his family.
In November he won a Emmy price.
But in recent weeks, his administration has been embroiled in a series of scandals.
Two women, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, who previously worked in his administration, accused him of sexual misconduct.
And on March 1, a third woman, Anna ruch, 33, whom he had never met before, accused him of making unwanted sexual advances during a marriage. A photo emerged of Cuomo, who is 63, touching his face.
“You can go get hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women – that’s my usual, usual way of greeting,” Cuomo said.
But he added he felt “horrible” and “embarrassed” by the allegations.
“I didn’t know at the time that I was making her uncomfortable. However, what I also understand is that it doesn’t matter, whatever my intention, what matters is that someone was offended by it, ”he said. “[I]If they were offended by it, I apologize and if they were hurt by it, I apologize and if they felt pain, I apologize, I apologize.
Following the press conference, Boylan responded to Cuomo and said his claim that he didn’t know he made female staff uncomfortable in the workplace made him unfit for the job.
“How can New Yorkers trust you to run our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?” she wrote in a tweet.
How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to run our state if you “don’t know” when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?
– Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) March 3, 2021
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the investigation into the harassment allegations, and that independent investigators will lead the effort.
The allegations follow close scrutiny of his handling of the coronavirus in retirement homes, with accusations his administration undercounted nursing home deaths and implemented policies that may have caused even more deaths.
A federal investigation has been launched into the matter.
Calls for his resignation and calls for an investigation into his behavior have come even from members of his own party. At least 25 Democratic officials have publicly called for his resignation, according to one listing compiled by NBC.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who often argues publicly with Cuomo, told CNN on Monday: “If these allegations, if these accusations are proven, there is simply no way he can govern.
Cuomo argued he would not succumb to such calls.
“Some politicians will always do politics, that’s the nature of the beast,” Cuomo said. “I was not elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of New York State.”