ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday after three women recently detailed sexual harassment allegations against him.
Cuomo had released a statement earlier this week in response to the accusations, but spoke about them for the first time Wednesday during his coronavirus briefing, saying “I want New Yorkers to hear directly from me on this.”
He went on to say he supports and encourages a woman’s right to come forward, and apologizes for any offensive behavior.
“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,” said Cuomo.
However, Cuomo still denied any inappropriate physical interactions, after former aide Lindsey Boylan claimed he forcibly kissed her, and former Barack Obama campaign organizer, Anna Ruch, said he touched her on her back and face, and asked if he could kiss her.
“This is what I want you to know…I never touched anyone inappropriately,” he said.
Cuomo and his secretary, Melissa DeRosa, both urged New Yorkers to wait for the Attorney General’s office’s independent investigation before judging the situation.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report from before forming an opinion,” said Cuomo.
A reporter asked Cuomo if he has considered stepping down amid calls for his resignation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Cuomo said he wasn’t elected by politicians, he was elected by the people, and plans to continue to serve them.
"I'm not going to resign. I work for the people of the state of New York," he said.
Cuomo says he and his administration will fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation.
State Republican legislative leaders held their own press conference following Governor Cuomo's press conference to talk about their ongoing effort to rescind the Governor's emergency powers, calling an alleged Tuesday deal among Democratic members on a version of the bill to rescind emergency powers, a joke. A vote on the bill could take place on Friday.
During that press conference, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt did address Governor Cuomo's apology during his press conference earlier in the day, "Some would say it was a performance worthy of the Emmy. But look, I don't know what is in somebody's heart, what I know is this, there's an investigation ongoing by the Attorney General's office and no amount of apologies are going to change that investigation from moving forward."