NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has apologized for comments he characterized as being “insensitive” or “too personal” and “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.”
“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” Cuomo said in a statement.
He added, “To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”
The apology came after after White House officials, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a coalition of female state lawmakers and several members of Congress joined the growing number of activists and Democratic lawmakers calling for an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo by two former aides.
Cuomo’s initial proposal to select a former federal judge to conduct a review of the accusations against him, would have been run by an official picked by his office. This lead to lawmakers questioning the independence of such an inquiry, calling on the New York attorney general to step in.
NY Attorney General Letitia James rejected Cuomo’s proposal. James called for a “truly independent investigation” that would grant her office subpoena power and the ability to call witnesses and obtain documents from the governor’s office, which was not the same as the review Cuomo had requested. Cuomo Turns Over Sexual Harassment Investigation to New York Attorney General (msn.com)
A separate statement from Cuomo’s office added;
“The Governor’s office wants a thorough and independent review that is above reproach and beyond political interference. Therefore the Governor’s office has asked Attorney General Tish James to select a qualified private lawyer to do an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment,” Cuomo’s office said in a statement. “The Governor’s office will voluntarily cooperate fully.”
Cuomo was first accused Wednesday by former economic-development aide Lindsey Boylan of kissing her on the lips during a private meeting in his office in 2018. Boylan also said he asked her on another occasion to play strip poker.
On Saturday, 25-year-old former aide Charlotte Bennett told The New York Times she was repeatedly made to feel uncomfortable last year by Cuomo, who asked probing details about her personal life.