Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized his accusers who have gone public amid ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, arguing they had impacted the fairness of the process by speaking out.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing in response to allegations from nine women, including current and former aides in the governor’s office, who say he sexually harassed them. The governor told reporters on Thursday that it has been "very difficult" for him not to directly respond to claims accusers have made in the press.
"Theoretically, the way it’s supposed to work is the AG and the assembly say we’re doing a review, they then do the review and the review is done privately," Cuomo said during a press conference. "Here, what has happened is the complainants have continued to go to the press and make their complaint in the press. I have not been able to respond. That’s not fair and it’s not right. So I’m trying to be respectful, but I’m very eager to tell my side of the story."
New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee are investigating the allegations against Cuomo, who has yet to be interviewed in connection to their inquiry. Cuomo’s office also faces separate investigations into claims that officials covered up the extent of New York’s COVID-19 nursing home crisis.
Cuomo has resisted calls for his resignation from top New York Democrats, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said during a television interview earlier in the day that the governor "can’t continue to lead" and "just has to go."
Cuomo laughed when a reporter asked him about de Blasio’s latest call for his resignation. He pointed to the state’s recent passage of its annual budget, which he described as the most difficult of its kind in "modern history" due to complications related to the coronavirus pandemic, as proof that he was able to effectively govern during the investigations.
"The mayor of New York, I don’t know what he’s indicative of," Cuomo said. "Ask the people of New York City what they think of the mayor of New York City and I would second their opinion."
Cuomo’s remark drew a quick rebuke from de Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt.
"I don’t care what a serial sexual harasser and assaulter and someone who covered up the deaths of thousands of people at nursing homes has to say about anything," Neidhardt said.