Cuomo: "I am not going to resign"
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday for acting in a way that made women feel "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he will not resign.
Driving the news: Cuomo reiterated in his first public appearance since sexual harassment allegations surfaced that he will fully cooperate with a team of independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, but suggested that demands for his resignation from were simply "politics."
What he's saying: Cuomo told reporters at a COVID briefing that giving hugs and kisses is his "usual and customary way of greeting" both men and women, and stressed that he "certainly never ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain."
- "This is what I want you to know, from me directly, I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never touched anyone inappropriately," Cuomo said.
- "I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general's report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion."
Background: Three women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate touching, at a time when he was already facing intense scrutiny for his handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
- The most recent allegation, first reported by the New York Times on Monday, came from a woman who said Cuomo came up to her at a wedding reception in 2019, placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her. The Times story included a photo capturing the moment.
- "You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people, women, men, children, et cetera," Cuomo said when asked about the photo at the briefing. "However ... if they were offended by it, then it was wrong," he added. "And if they were offended by it, I apologize."
The big picture: Cuomo has faced calls to resign from Republicans and some Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice and a number of New York state lawmakers. Most top Democrats — including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — have expressed support for an independent investigation.