Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intends to remain in office.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly.
Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. He hadn’t spoken publicly since giving James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
Trying to be ‘playful’
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. 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.