Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced growing and bipartisan calls for him to resign in recent days amid mounting scandals.
During a news conference on Wednesday, however, Cuomo made his intentions clear, declaring: “I am not going to resign.”
“That’s not easy to say”
Cuomo has encountered harsh criticism on multiple fronts lately, including fallout from his order last year that sent COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes and attempting to cover up the true death toll. He has also been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.
Despite his refusal to step down, the governor did offer an apology of sorts, arguing that his intentions were always good, his behavior was not out of the ordinary, and people should wait to render judgment on the matter until the state’s attorney general had completed a review of the claims against him.
Cuomo first reiterated his belief that women should be afforded the right to come forward with sexual misconduct claims, acknowledging that he understands that he acted “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” while maintaining that he did so unintentionally.
“I feel awful about it and frankly, I am embarrassed by it,” he said. “That’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
Although he provided some credence to the allegations being made against him, he denied the most egregious claims, asserting that he “never touched anyone inappropriately” and “never knew at the time” that his actions made others feel uncomfortable.
“Once you have the facts”
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion,” Cuomo pleaded. “Get the facts please before forming an opinion. And the attorney general is doing that review and I will fully cooperate with it, and then you will have the facts. Make a decision once you have the facts.”
In any case, Cuomo concluded that he had learned an “important lesson” as a result of what he called an “incredibly difficult situation.”
Acts such as kissing and hugging individuals without permission, he argued, represent a normal aspect of his cultural heritage.
When a reporter chimed in to ask if his public statements on the matter meant he did not intend to resign, he replied that he worked for the people of New York and not the politicians calling for him to step down.
As New York Magazine‘s Intelligencer laid out in a recent comprehensive list, Cuomo is attempting to resist the pressure of several serious scandals. In addition to the nursing home debacle and claims of sexual harassment, he has been accused of bullying lawmakers even in his own party who had been critical of his administration. As a result, Democrats and Republicans alike were surely disappointed that he still shows no signs that he is willing to resign and allow his state to put the current controversies in the past.