An emotional. Andrew Cuomo was apologetic during his first public appearance since three allegations of sexual harassment were made public in the past week, but said he won't resign.
Cuomo said that he was “embarrassed,” “feels awful,” and “felt bad for making anyone uncomfortable,” though he was adamant that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”
“I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. And I think it should be encouraged in every way,” Cuomo said on Wednesday, March 3 following a COVID-19 briefing in Albany. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable, and it was unintentional, and I truly, deeply, apologize for it.
“But this is what I want you to know, and know this from me directly: I never touched anyone inappropriately … I never touched anyone inappropriately.”
Cuomo, who got choked up during his statement, said that he and his administration will fully cooperate with Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into the allegations, and asked that New Yorkers give him the benefit of the doubt until the full report is released.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the Attorney General’s report before forming an opinion,” he said. “Let’s get the facts, please, before forming an opinion as the Attorney General does that review, which I will fully cooperate with. Once you have the facts, then make a decision.”
“Some politicians will always play politics," Cuomo said. "That’s the nature of the beast. I don’t think today is a day for politics. I wasn’t elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of the State of New York.
"I’m not going to resign. I work for the people of the State of New York, they elected me, and I’m going to serve the people of the State of New York."
When asked about photos that have surfaced of him touching the faces of women following the sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo said that it was his father’s way of greeting people and that there are hundreds out there of him making the same gesture.
“It is my usual and customary way of greeting. And by the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” he said. “You want people to feel comfortable, and that was my way to do that. However, what I understand it, it doesn’t matter.
“My intent doesn’t matter. 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. If they were offended by it, I apologize, and if they felt pain from it, I apologize.”
According to Cuomo, the new allegations have provided him with a learning experience, though he vowed not to step away from office amid James’ investigation.
“I want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult decision for me, as well as other people,” he said. “And I’ve learned an important lesson. I’m sorry … I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it.
“I will be the better for this experience.”
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