Cuomo to hold his first COVID briefing for more than a week amid sexual harassment claims
Cuomo has not been seen since February 24, when he opened a vaccine site. His last briefing where he took questions was on February 22
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will finally reappear before the public on Wednesday after ‘hiding’ for more than a week amid claims he sexually harassed three women.
The governor is holding a 1pm press briefing, hours after being slammed by Mayor de Blasio for hiding from the public and media amid the ongoing pandemic.
It’s unclear if he plans to take questions on either the nursing home scandal or the sexual harassment scandal which has erupted last week.
Cuomo’s office alerted the media that he’d be holding a 1pm briefing at 12.11pm.
Before today, Cuomo, 63, had not been seen at a public event on February 24. He was opening a vaccination site in the Bronx but did not take any questions from the media.
The last time he accepted journalists’ questions was two days earlier, on February 22, which was his last televised COVID-briefing.
He made one virtual appearance – on February 25 – at the virtual governors’ meeting where he welcomed President Joe Biden, but he had not been seen since then.
Emails from his office indicate that he has been in Albany throughout.
On Wednesday, he held a COVID briefing via Zoom, where journalists could dial in their questions.
It is a marked difference from the forward-facing Cuomo the country became accustomed to throughout the pandemic, and which won him an Emmy.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized him for shying away from the spotlight again.
‘We need a full investigation…we need the full truth and we need it quickly. In the meantime, if the governor is to remain in office, he has to govern. He has to answer questions every day and address the issues.
‘There’s so much going on with this pandemic we have to continue to do this work to protect people’s lives and obviously, part of that is responding to the concerns of the public expressed through the media.
‘That’s the bottom line right now. If he can’t do that, if he can’t govern – of course, step aside and let someone else do it.
‘Right now, what we need is clear answers and progress. We need local control.
‘Especially when we see the dysfunction in Albany.’
Charlotte Bennett (left), 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men. Lindsey Boylan (right) accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018
A third woman has accused Governor Cuomo of unwanted touching and sexual attention, saying he placed his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at her friend’s wedding. A friend took a series of pictures of the incident as it occurred. https://t.co/bgvzBK4vK0 pic.twitter.com/hXvgTvSntQ
— Evan Hill (@evanchill) March 2, 2021
Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face. She says he asked if he could kiss her
Photos taken in September 2016 show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide Melissa DeRosa, 38, at dinner. She has since insisted there was never any impropriety
A growing number of Democratic leaders have called on Cuomo to resign following the sexual harassment allegations, including Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, a New York representative who on Monday became the first Democrat in DC to call for him to stand down.
Two former aides – Charlotte Bennett and Lindsay Boylan – say Cuomo sexually harassed them when they were working for him.
On Monday night, a third woman – Anna Ruch, now 33, who worked at the Obama White House and met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019 – said he asked if he could kiss her.
A journalist has also come forward to say she quit her job in local news because she was bullied by Cuomo’s team, and a video resurfaced over the weekend of thew governor repeatedly telling a different journalist to ‘eat the whole sausage’ at the New York State Fair in 2016.
That journalist, Bethany Cefalu, said on Monday that she never felt pressured nor harassed, nor did she think Cuomo was inappropriate.
A billboard in Albany, the New York state capital, was put up on Tuesday demanding the governor quit
On Monday night, Melissa DeRosa – one of his most senior aides – hit back at photos obtained by DailyMail.com which show the pair at dinner, not long after she got married.
They appear close in the photos and Cuomo’s hand is placed between them on a booth.
DeRosa said in a statement to DailyMail.com: ‘There have been misogynistic rumors in Albany and in government for years but I never thought I’d have to respond to them in the press.
‘The Governor and I have never had an intimate relationship. The Governor and I have been close friends and colleagues for over ten years – we’ve had countless meals together and suggestions or innuendo around that is inappropriate, offensive and wrong.’
The women who have made allegations against him on banded together in solidarity on Monday night.
Attorney General Letitia James is appointing a special counsel to investigate the claims after shutting down Cuomo’s suggestion that he could appoint his own.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the claims were ‘credible’ and ‘serious’ earlier this week.