A defiant Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday vowed that “there is no way” he’ll resign over his expanding sexual harassment allegations lodged against him by now five women.
Cuomo waved off calls for his resignation as being motivated by “politics.”
“I was elected by the people of the state. I wasn’t elected by politicians,” said Cuomo during a brief conference call with reporters. “I’m not gonna resign because of allegations.”
Thank you to those of you who have reached out with messages of support. I shared my story because I believe it may help bolster those shared by other women. This is just "how things are" for women in Albany, in politics, in any high-pressure workplace. I think we deserve better. https://t.co/XDj8mcLuir
— Ana Liss (@analiss) March 7, 2021
“The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic,” said Cuomo. “Anybody has the ability to make an allegation in a democracy and that’s great. But it’s in the credibility of the allegation.”
An “embarrassed” Cuomo last week offered a conditional apology “if [his accusers] were offended” by his remarks, while vehemently denying accusations of inappropriate physical contact.
Andrew Cuomo: There’s No Way I’m Resigning
Cuomo on Sunday characterized Hinton as a “longtime political adversary of mine,” claiming that her allegation to the Washington Post that he grabbed her inside a dimly lit hotel room during a 2000 trip to Los Angeles was “not true.”
“Ms. Hinton, every woman has a right to come forward. That’s true,” said Cuomo. “But the truth also matters. What she said is not true.
“As everybody who has been involved on any level in New York politics knows, she has been a longtime political adversary of mine, highly critical for many, many years and has made many, many accusations,” said Cuomo.
At the time Cuomo allegedly grasped Hinton in a way she described as “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate,” he was serving as the head of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
She subsequently went on to serve as a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent political rival of Cuomo, and last month was one of several people in New York’s political landscape to speak out against the governor’s alleged pattern of “bullying” behavior.
Asked about Liss’s allegation that he asked her inappropriate questions about her dating life, Cuomo said only that he engaged in “friendly banter.”
As to Liss’ citing a photograph taken during a 2014 reception showing the governor with his hand around her waist, Cuomo said that over the years he’d posed for photos with hundreds of people, including men as well as women.
“We take pictures with people. If you like the picture, you frame it, you put it on your desk,” said Cuomo. “If you don’t like the picture, you throw it in the garbage. That’s your right.
“I never meant to make anyone feel unwelcome in any way.”
Asked point-blank if he was accusing the women of lying about the experiences, Cuomo offered a seemingly contradictory response.
“No,” he said. “I just said what Karen Hinton said was not true.”
The third-term Democrat said that demands for his resignation — which have come from both sides of the political aisle — are motivated by politics, an explanation he previously offered in response to bipartisan calls for a probe into his administration’s handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes.
“There is politics in politics,” he said with a laugh.
“I have political differences with people. I have political differences with Republicans. I have political differences with Sen. [Alessandra] Biaggi,” Cuomo continued, referring to the Democratic state lawmaker among those calling on the governor to resign.
“But they don’t override the people’s will,” he said. “They don’t override elections.”
Arguing the benefit of allegations being investigated privately until such time that they are substantiated, Cuomo suggested that Biaggi would not like having accusations litigated in public.
“If that’s what Sen. Biaggi wants to do, let’s release all the allegations that JCOPE [the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics] and the attorney general and the DAs have about senate members, and then let’s put them out in the public arena, and then let’s decide publicly … should this allegation cause a person to resign,” said Cuomo. “That’s absurd.”
Cuomo steadfastly maintained he was not stepping down.“That’s democracy,” he said, referring to due process and letting investigations, like that launched by state Attorney General Letitia James, run their course. “There is no way I resign.”
H/T Post wires