Lindsey Boylan, who first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment: “How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized profusely over the sexual harassment allegations against him, but he said he will not resign:
“I wasn’t elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of the state of New York. I’m not going to resign,” he said.
“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.”
During a video news conference from the Capitol in Albany, Cuomo insisted, “I never touched anyone inappropriately” and pledged to cooperate with an independent investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James.
Cuomo also said he was acting against legal advice to tell New Yorkers, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I am 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." https://t.co/q1Pk3Tey0A pic.twitter.com/ALFsvfbFgr
— The Hill (@thehill) March 3, 2021
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it … I never touched anyone inappropriately.”
— Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on sexual harassment allegations against himpic.twitter.com/8F5Sluauor
— The Recount (@therecount) March 3, 2021
Cuomo never touched anyone inappropriately? Lindsey Boylan, the first woman who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, wrote (emphasis mine):
I tried to excuse his behavior. I told myself “it’s only words.” But that changed after a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects. We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.
I left past the desk of Stephanie Benton. I was scared she had seen the kiss. The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s “crush” on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself.
Anna Ruch told The New York Times (emphasis mine):
She recalled Mr. Cuomo moving his hand to the small of her back — exposed in an open-back dress — within moments of their being introduced and shaking hands at the reception.
Ms. Ruch said that touch, on her bare skin, discomfited her. “I promptly removed his hand with my hand, which I would have thought was a clear enough indicator that I was not wanting him to touch me,” she said.
Instead, Ms. Ruch said, Mr. Cuomo called her “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks.
“He said, ‘Can I kiss you?’” Ms. Ruch said. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed.” (A friend captured the exchange in a series of photographs taken on Ms. Ruch’s cellphone.)
Shaken, Ms. Ruch said, she later had to ask a friend if Mr. Cuomo’s lips had made contact with her face as she pulled away. The governor had kissed her cheek, she was told.
“It’s the act of impunity that strikes me,” Ms. Ruch said. “I didn’t have a choice in that matter. I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment. And that’s what infuriates me. And even with what I could do, removing his hand from my lower back, even doing that was not clear enough.”
Cuomo apologized but brushed aside the harassment claims because touching and kissing are his family’s way of greeting other people.
My family is Italian. We greet family members and the closest of friends that way, especially kissing on the cheek.
Asked by @MKramerTV about photo in which he’s touching Anna Ruch’s face, @NYGovCuomo says: “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people: women, men, children, etc… It is my usual, customary way of greeting.” He says his father’s also. https://t.co/HQOHBewDVN
— Andrew Donovan (@AndrewDonovan) March 3, 2021
BREAKING: Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologizes for any touching that made people feel uncomfortable, but says, "It was my father's way of greeting people." pic.twitter.com/5GgglqH4fl
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 3, 2021
Cuomo claimed he is not ashamed of anything he has done in his political career. But I thought he said that the accusations “embarrassed” him and he feels “awful.” How about the nursing home death scandal?
“I have never done anything in my public career that I have been ashamed of.” – Andrew Cuomo pic.twitter.com/bECc4zUDA0
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 3, 2021
Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to tell her story, responded to Cuomo on Twitter:
How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you “don’t know” when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) March 3, 2021
Debra Katz represents Charlotte Bennett, the second woman who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Katz said Cuomo filled his press conference with “falsehoods and inaccurate information.”
Katz reminded everyone that Bennett “reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel.”
“We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint and we fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Mrs. Bennett’s serious allegations or to ensure that corrective measures were taken, in violation of their legal requirements,” continued Katz.
— Sonia Moghe (@soniamoghe) March 3, 2021
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