New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, accused of alleged sexual harassment, apologized for his behavior but denied “having touched anyone inappropriately.”
Cuomo told reporters that he is “embarrassed” for his actions and said that he will cooperate with the investigation in the hands of NY Attorney General Letitia James, a fellow Democrat. However, he asserted that he will not resign from office despite the scandals surrounding him.
‘I won’t resign’: Andrew Cuomo
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people uncomfortable. It was unintentional. And I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo said. “I feel awful about it. And frankly, I’m embarrassed by it,” he added.
Cuomo asserted that he “never knew at what point he made anyone uncomfortable” and claimed he had “learned his lesson.”
The governor denied the accusations of Anna Ruch, who claimed that Cuomo touched her back inappropriately. When asked about the photograph of him grabbing Anna Ruch’s face, (who accused him of grabbing her face and kissing her cheek without permission), Cuomo claimed it is his “standard” way of greeting people.
“You can find hundreds of pictures of me doing the same gesture with hundreds of people, women, men, children, etc. (…) You can find hundreds of photos of me kissing people; it is my usual way of greeting,” he said.
Following the governor’s statements, Lindsey Boylan, who was an aide to Cuomo and claims he was a victim of sexual harassment, reacted through his account on the social network Twitter.
“How can New Yorkers trust you (referring to Cuomo) to lead our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?” Boylan tweeted.
Nearly 30 New York Democrat and Republican lawmakers have declared that the governor should resign or face impeachment, amid the growing sexual harassment accusations and also for lying about the number of deceased seniors in the state’s nursing homes.
Previously the governor had denied all the allegations and said he was “misunderstood.”
The Democrat maintained that he has never touched anyone inappropriately, but admitted that he had joked with certain people about their personal lives in an attempt to be “playful.”
The governor issued the comments after the state attorney general’s office demanded Cuomo himself, the authority to investigate sexual harassment allegations, from at least two women he worked with.
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way,” the governor explained.
“I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business,” he noted.