New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized for his past behavior following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by three women, telling reporters on Wednesday that he is “embarrassed” by his actions and will cooperate with the New York attorney general’s investigation of his conduct.
During a briefing that primarily focused on developments in the coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo shifted to address the brewing scandal, stating that he was ignoring the advice of attorneys to address the public.
“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,” Cuomo said. “I feel awful about it and frankly I am embarrassed by it.”
Cuomo went on to say that he “never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable,” that he has “learned an important lesson,” and “will be the better for this experience.”
In this image taken from video from the Office of the N.Y. Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)
((Office of the NY Governor via AP))
When asked later, Cuomo said that he had taken the sexual harassment sensitivity training that is required of state workers.
The governor also stressed that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.” When asked about the photograph of him gripping the face of Anna Ruch, who accused him of grabbing her face and kissing her cheek without permission, Cuomo claimed that it is a “customary” way for him to greet people.
“You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people, women, men, children, etc., Cuomo said. “You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. Men, women, it is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Nevertheless, he said he understands Ruch’s “opinion and feelings.”
Nearly 30 Democratic and Republican New York lawmakers have stated that Cuomo should either resign or face impeachment in the wake of the allegations and the scandal surrounding nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
Similarly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that if the allegations against the governor are true, “he can not govern.”
Cuomo made it clear on Wednesday that he has no plans to go anywhere.
“I’m not going to resign,” he said.