By Associated Press
She said Cuomo’s claim that he was unaware he had made women uncomfortable was disingenuous, considering that Bennett had reported his behavior to her boss and one of Cuomo’s lawyers.
“We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint and we fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Ms. Bennett’s serious allegations or to ensure that corrective measures were taken, in violation of their legal requirements,” Katz said.
Cuomo’s support has plummeted amid a one-two punch of scandals, and even some Democrats have called on him to step aside. The harassment allegations follow accusations that Cuomo covered up the true COVID-19 death toll on nursing home residents .
“I don’t think it’s in his DNA to resign or back down,” said Queens Assembly member Ron Kim, a Democrat who accused Cuomo of bullying him over the nursing home issue. “I think he will do whatever it takes to fight this.”
Cuomo said he inherited his gregarious way of greeting people from his father, the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and that he intended it as a way of welcoming people and making them feel comfortable. He said he realizes now, “it doesn’t matter my intent, what it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
Speaking about the allegations, Cuomo initially said he was apologizing to “people” who were uncomfortable with his conduct, but he didn’t make clear as he continued which of the women he was referring to.
At one point, he said he was apologizing to “the young woman who worked here who said that I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” though that description could apply to both Boylan and Bennett.
Asked what he was saying to New Yorkers, Cuomo said: “I’m embarrassed by what happened… I’m embarrassed that someone felt that way in my administration. I’m embarrassed and hurt and I apologize that somebody who interacted with me felt that way.”
The governor, who has touted a law requiring all workers in New York to receive sexual harassment training, said he felt at the time that his behavior was innocuous but now acknowledges that sexual harassment centers on how the victim is impacted — not the offender’s intent.
“I didn’t know at the time I was making her feel uncomfortable. I never meant to, but that doesn’t matter,” Cuomo said. “If a person feels uncomfortable, if a person feels pain, if a person is offended, I feel very badly about that and I apologize for it. There’s no but — it’s, ‘I’m sorry.’”