In his first public appearance in a week, and his first since three women have accused him of sexual harassment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated he will not be stepping down and he intends to push forward with budget negotiations, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, and fixing the precarious economy of New York City and the state.
“I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly,” the governor said following a routine press conference on COVID-19.
“I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. I think it should be encouraged in every way.
“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 feel awful about it and frankly I am embarrassed by it.
“That’s not easy to say but that’s the truth.
“This is what I want you to know, and I want you to know this from me directly.
“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” he said. “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” Cuomo repeated.
“I never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.
“I certainly never ever meant to offend anyone. Or hurt anyone. Or cause anyone any pain.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the AG’s report before forming an opinion.
“Get the facts please before forming an opinion. The attorney general is doing that review; I will fully cooperate with it, then you will have the facts.
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, I learned an important lesson.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Cuomo fielded multiple questions from six reporters, all related to the recent allegations.
Cuomo said he will not step aside in one of the busiest times of the legislative calendar — the final crafting of the state budget.
“The state budget is critically important. The budget will turn the page to the rebuilding phase.”
Cuomo noted that he and the Legislature were able to agree on, and pass, a budget last spring during the heat of the first wave of the pandemic, and he is confident they can do it again this month.
Asked if his appearance and statement on Wednesday was meant to be taken as a sign of his resolve, Cuomo said he plans to keep working on the state’s urgent issues.
“Today is not the day for politics. I was elected by the people of New York. I’m not going to resign. I work for the people of the state of New York; they elected me.
“We have a full plate, we have COVID, we have recovery, we have rebuilding, we have a teetering New York City, we have a terrible financial picture, so no [I am not resigning].
“I am going to do the job the people of the state of New York elected me to do.”