It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Embattled Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo is in a mess of trouble after his Attorney General released a series of findings from an investigation into numerous sexual assault allegations.
Based on the evidence, it was determined that Cuomo did engage in a number of inappropriate — and even criminal — offenses while in office, creating a toxic workplace for current and former staffers.
Cuomo routinely harassed multiple women who were employed in and out of his Executive Chamber, but all had at least one thing in common: they were extremely young and naive to Cuomo’s “charms.”
The Democratic governor issued his response in a recorded statement, dismissing the findings of the independent investigation that started in March and alleging it was not impartial.
“The facts are much different than what has been portrayed. I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. That is just not who I am, and that’s just not who I’ve ever been.”
Cuomo specifically addressed the allegations of one of the 11 women listed in the report, Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant. The governor said Bennett informed him she was a sexual assault survivor and that “her story resonated deeply” with him because he aided a family member through a similar situation.
“I did ask her questions I don’t normally ask people,” he said. But he added, “They read into comments that I made and drew inferences that I never meant.”
“I am truly and deeply sorry,” Cuomo said in an apology to Bennett.
Bennett, in response to the release of the report, tweeted to demand his resignation.
In his video statement, Cuomo displays a number of images to supposedly prove his habit of grabbing peoples’ faces and kissing — as if that makes it any less creepy. Being Italian is not a crime, but it seems to be Cuomo’s greatest defense.
“I actually learned it from my mother and from my father. … I do it with everyone: black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street,” Cuomo said. “I do kiss people on the forehead. … I do embrace people. I do hug people: men and women. I do, on occasion, say, ‘Ciao, bella.’ On occasion, I do slip and say, ‘Sweetheart.’ … I am the same person in public as I am in private.”
To accompany Cuomo’s video statement, the embattled governor announced he has hired an “expert” to design a new sexual harassment policy and procedures to train the whole team. “Myself included,” the governor said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer drafted a joint statement with the other New York Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, renewing their calls for Cuomo’s resignation.
Other prominent figures in the party calling for him to go included New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The governor dismissed the calls to resign, however, and said he would not be “distracted” from his work.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney