New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not step down despite growing calls for his resignation in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations. “I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” Cuomo said on a call with reporters Friday.
“I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives, but I can tell you, as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation,” he continued.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo adviser, published an essay last month alleging the governor suggested they “play strip poker” and kissed her on the lips without her consent. Since then, four other former female staffers have come forward to accuse the governor of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior.
A sixth woman, Anna Ruch, alleges Cuomo made unwanted physical advances, including touching her bare back, cupping her face, and kissing her cheek, at a wedding they both attended in 2019.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said last Wednesday at a press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth.”
The latest allegation came earlier this week from an unnamed former executive staffer who claims Cuomo groped her at the Executive Manson late last year, the Albany Times Union reported.
“As I said last week, this is very simple: I never touched anyone inappropriately,” the governor said Tuesday afternoon in a call with reporters. “As I said last week, I never made any inappropriate advances. As I said last week, no one ever told me at the time I made them feel uncomfortable.”
“Obviously, there are people who’ve said after the fact they felt uncomfortable. No one told me that at the time,” he added.
Earlier Friday, the majority of New York House Democrats, including Reps. Jerry Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, released statements calling for his resignation. On Thursday, Mayor Bill De Blasio and 59 state lawmakers called on Cuomo to resign.
“After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a Friday morning tweet.
During his Friday afternoon call, Cuomo appeared to hit back at those calling for his resignation.
“Politicians who don’t know a single fact, but yet form a conclusion and an opinion, are in my opinion reckless and dangerous. The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance. That, my friends, is politics at its worst. Politicians take positions for all sorts of reasons including political expediency and bowing to pressure. But, people know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation into the claims. She said last Monday that her findings would be made public after the inquiry was completed. Cuomo also faces a separate investigation from the Justice Department into nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.