At his first press conference since three women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized by insisting he did not know his alleged actions – grab a woman’s face, bring up the sexual assault of an assistant, give her a kiss. on the cheek – made people uncomfortable.
“I have never touched anyone inappropriately. I never intended to make anyone uncomfortable. And if I did, I apologize. But let the attorney general’s office decide the facts, ”he said on Wednesday.
Cuomo discussed the most recent allegation, from former Biden campaign worker Anna Ruch, who said the governor grabbed her face and asked to kiss her shortly after they met at the ‘a wedding in 2019. She provided a picture and texts to corroborate her story.
“You can find hundreds of photos of me doing this gesture,” Governor Cuomo said. “It was my father’s way of greeting people. You are the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable. “
“But that doesn’t matter,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what my intention is. What matters is whether someone has been offended by it. I couldn’t take offense, but if they were offended, it was wrong. “
He said grabbing the face and kissing on the cheek was a greeting habit he picked up from his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who served from 1983 to 1994 .
Beyond that, however, the governor lacked specifics. When asked by a reporter he specifically apologized to, Cuomo did not provide a name.
“I apologize to the young woman who worked here who said I made her uncomfortable in the workplace,” Cuomo said. “I’m embarrassed that someone in my administration felt this.”
Two aides, Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, both came forward in February to describe repeated proposals from the governor. Boylan wrote in a Medium post that she quit after Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips; Bennett said The New York Times that Cuomo repeatedly brought up a sexual assault of his own.
Following news of Bennett and Ruch’s allegations, some Democratic lawmakers have called on Cuomo to step down, including Congressman Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY).
Cuomo, however, said on Wednesday that he had no plans to step down, without indicating whether or not he would run for a fourth term in 2022, as he had previously said.
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