ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on Friday where he addressed the allegations of sexual harassment and assault that have been made against him.
Cuomo continues to deny allegations and says that he never harassed anyone. He continues to say that he will not resign and feels that there is no one better to lead the state right now.
"I'm not going to resign," he said. "I was not elected by the politicians. I was elected by the people."
Cuomo has been accused of sexually harassing or being inappropriate with at least seven women.
"Women have a right to come forward and be heard... and I encourage them," he said during a conference call with the media. "But, I also want to be clear, there is a question of truth. I did not do what has been alleged. Period."
Cuomo says he wants people to wait until the reviews are done before forming their opinion.
"I won't speculate about people's possible motives. But I can tell you, as a former Attorney General, who's gone through this situation, many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation. And that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision," he said.
Several lawmakers have called for Cuomo to resign or be impeached. Several of them are from the Western New York delegation.
On Friday alone, several congressional leaders from New York also began calling for his resignation including Congressmen Tom Reed (R, NY-23) and Brian Higgins (D,NY-26).
"In the meantime, I want to make it clear that what is being alleged just did not happen. The last allegation is not true," Cuomo said in reference to the Times Union report of a female aid who claims Cuomo groped her at the Executive Mansion.
A reporter asked Cuomo about the questions some are raising on if he can truly lead the state while faced with these accusations. Cuomo said that he doesn’t believe there is someone better to lead the state through the next two weeks of budget negotiations and the vaccination push.
“I don't think there's a person in a better position to help the state, get through this period, than the experience that I bring to it,” Cuomo said, in part.
“So I think I can be of tremendous help, and I'm focused on my job. The Assembly is focused on their job and the Senate is focused on their job. So, I'm confident that if everybody does their job, we'll make... do the best we can,” Cuomo said.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who in charge of holding state and local offices accountable for the use of tax dollars, also tweeted Friday that he feels it is time for Cuomo to "step down" from his leadership during a time when the state faces critical budget decisions and a crisis.
Cuomo has faced several allegations. The Times Union report was the sixth accusation. Cuomo continued to repeat in his press conference that he believes he never sexually harassed or assaulted anyone.
“I've never harassed anyone. I never assaulted anyone. I never abused anyone,” Cuomo said about the allegations.
“To the extent, you get these people who say ‘well he took a picture with me and I was uncomfortable.’ I apologize for that. And I'm sure you look at the 1000s of pictures. I'm sure you can do this all day long,” Cuomo said.
That comment was in reference to the report from the New York Times, where Anna Ruch claims the governor touched her face and asked if he could kiss her at a wedding reception in 2019.
“I apologize for people who I have taken pictures with and who after the fact, said they were uncomfortable with that picture,” Cuomo also said.
The governor added that he feels New Yorkers know him and should "wait for the facts."
"Look, they [New Yorkers] have known me for 40 years, they elected me Attorney General, they elected me governor three times. I have been in the public eye, my entire life. My entire life, I have been under public scrutiny. Since I was 23-years-old and ran my father's campaign. New Yorkers know me.
Wait for the facts. Wait for the facts. Then, you can have an opinion. I am confident that when New Yorkers know the facts from the review. I am confident in the decision based on the facts. But wait for the facts. An opinion without facts is irresponsible," Cuomo said.
Cuomo also repeated himself at the beginning of his statement while touching on his feelings about politicians' motivations for speaking up about his alleged misconduct. He referenced "cancel culture," which is a term used to describe when someone is ostracised for doing or allegedly doing something wrong.
"People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth. People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth, Cuomo said.