As he faced mounting criticism over sexual harassment claims, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that he was "truly sorry" if his acts had ever been "misinterpreted as an unwelcome flirtation." Since former aide Charlotte Bennett told The New York Times that Cuomo sexually assaulted her last year, he has been widely chastised, even by fellow Democrats. Cuomo's ex-aide Lindsey Boylan mentioned unwelcome physical contact from Cuomo just four days before the allegations surfaced. He agreed that some of his remarks were insensitive "As a result, it was misinterpreted as an unwelcome flirtation. I sincerely apologize to everyone who feels that way."
Yet he denied ever touching or proposing to someone sexually. Cuomo claimed that he had ordered an impartial investigation into the claims. He had previously named former federal judge Barbara Jones to lead the investigation, but high-ranking members of his own Democratic Party criticized her for not being open enough. Cuomo, who is 63 years old, told Bennett in June that he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her if she felt age mattered in romantic relationships, according to the New York Times.
"I knew that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and I felt horribly insecure and frightened," she said, even though Cuomo never tried to touch her. Cuomo's straight-talking and empathetic coronavirus briefings made him a national figure last spring. They sparked rumors that President Joe Biden, who was running for re-election at the time, was considering him as a running mate. Boylan reported in a blog post on Wednesday that Cuomo harassed her when she worked for his administration from 2015 to 2018.
Boylan, 36, says the governor kissed her on the lips without her permission, suggested strip poker, and went "out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs." "Every woman should be heard, respected, and treated with dignity," Jen Psaki, President Joe Biden's spokeswoman, said on CNN.