For the second time this year, Andrew Cuomo finds himself alone in an almost unthinkable political quagmire. And for the second time this year, Cuomo has given no signals that he will back down. Instead, he’s preparing to fight back, according to Politico.
Unlike in March, however, when multiple allegations of sexual harassment first emerged, it’s now hard to see any new escape route for the governor, who is under criminal investigation and is facing almost certain impeachment in the aftermath of state Attorney General Tish James’ investigation of his conduct.
The only one who seems to be unaware of the desperate state of affairs is the governor.
Aides close to the governor say he is pushing for a press conference to refute James’s report in further detail, though it’s unclear if and when that plan will come to fruition as they try to talk him down.
Cuomo’s initial response Tuesday was a 14-minute, pre-taped video in which he said he and his family have experienced a hard and painful past few months, but he’d like to share his side of the story.
Cuomo insisted that his words and actions were misinterpreted by the attorney general, the investigators and the women who reported them. He talked with Charlotte Bennett, a sexual assault survivor, about her sex life because he was so moved by her personal story, he said. The hugs and kisses reported by former aides were largely representative of how he greets people as an Italian American politician, he said, as photos of him publicly embracing other politicians and constituents flashed on the screen.
He asked anyone who is interested to read an 85-page “position paper” from his attorney, Rita Glavin. She included more than two dozen photos of prominent Democrats embracing and kissing people — from President Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama.
Neither the paper nor the video addressed one of the report’s most revelatory claims: that Cuomo regularly made sexually suggestive comments and physical advances toward a state trooper he had assigned to his protective detail. Yet he finished with a pitch to voters about the work New York has left to do rebuilding from the pandemic.
“My job is not about me. My job is about you,” he said. “What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. And that is what I do, every day, and I will not be distracted from that job.”