In his first comments to reporters since Feb. 22, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has "learned an important lesson" in the wake of a trio of sexual harassment claims. Cuomo said he "never knew at the time he was making anyone uncomfortable" and feels "awful" and "embarrassed" for his actions but that he "never touched anyone inappropriately." He continued, "You can find hundreds of pictures of me kissing men, women. It is my usual way of greeting. .. by the way it was my father's way of greeting. ... I kiss and hug legislators." But he allowed that "it doesn't matter my intent, what it matters is if anybody was offended by it ... if they were offended by it I apologize." More standout lines:
- When asked if he was going to resign, he said, "I am not going to resign, I work for the people of the state of New York, they elected me." He said the job is a demanding one between COVID, financial distress, vaccines, etc.
- When asked why it took a week to go before the cameras, Cuomo said he apologized days ago in a statement, that he "apologized today, I will apologize tomorrow, and I will apologize the day after."
- He said he wanted "New Yorkers to understand the emotion," which was largely embarrassment. "I'm embarrassed by it," he said. "I do not believe that I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of."
- Cuomo said he will "fully cooperate" with the state attorney general’s investigation into the allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is currently choosing an outside law firm to handle the probe.
One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man, reports the AP. Bennett rejected Cuomo's attempted apology, in which he said he'd been trying to be "playful" and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan's allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told the New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.
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