New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo maintained Tuesday that he never acted inappropriately toward current or former aides who have accused him of sexual harassment or misconduct, reiterating his claims of innocence amid several active investigations into his behavior while in office.
Cuomo’s latest denial came during a tense exchange with reporters at a press conference in Johnson City, New York. When pressed for a direct response to an allegation from a former aide who accused Cuomo of repeatedly inquiring about her history of experiencing harassment, the governor again denied wrongdoing and suggested that the public had "only heard one side of the story."
"I said from the beginning I haven’t done anything wrong. I said to anyone who I made feel awkward or misinterpreted my comments, I apologize, but I didn’t do anything wrong. If someone felt awkward, I apologize," Cuomo said. "Let’s get both sides of the facts and then we’ll see what you think when you hear both sides of the story."
Cuomo also addressed an allegation from an unnamed female aide who accused the governor of groping her during an encounter at his mansion last year. The Democrat admitted that he had "touched people" but denied that he had ever done so in an inappropriate way.
"I’ve never touched anyone inappropriately, and groping would be 'inappropriately,'" Cuomo said.
The press conference was the second of the week in which Cuomo fielded questions from reporters who were allowed to attend an event. The governor’s office had limited press access to his events for several weeks, citing COVID-19 safety protocols.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee are investigating allegations from nine women who have accused Cuomo of harassment or misconduct.
The governor has repeatedly said he will not resign from office despite calls from prominent lawmakers, including Democratic New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
New York Post reporter Bernadette Hogan pushed Cuomo to respond to several specific allegations against him, including claims that he presided over a toxic workplace culture as governor. In response, Cuomo suggested that "agendas" had contributed to the public’s perception of his behavior.
"That’s what you report that people say. Let’s get both sides of the story," Cuomo said. "I understand there are political agendas here, I understand your agenda."