Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared a slideshow showing him kissing men and women of all ages in a Tuesday press conference.
Cuomo shared the slideshow after an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded that he harassed multiple women in violation of both state and federal law. (RELATED: Gov. Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women, Announces NY Attorney General)
Cuomo denied any wrongdoing in his statement, arguing that some of the things he was accused of doing — such as hugging or kissing women on the cheek or forehead — were simply a part of the way he routinely greeted people.
“I do it with everyone. Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street,” Cuomo said as he shared a slideshow of photos of himself touching and kissing men, women and children.
Cuomo went on to say that after one such instance a woman had told the press that she took offense to his physical manner of greeting — and he said that he was sorry for that.
“Another woman stated that I kissed her on the forehead at our Christmas party and that I said ‘ciao bella.’ I don’t remember doing it, but I’m sure that I did,” Cuomo continued.
“I do kiss people on the forehead. I do kiss people on the cheek. I do kiss people on the hand. I do embrace people. I do hug people. Men and women. I do on occasion say ‘ciao bella’ on occasion I slip and say sweetheart or darling or honey. I do banter with people. I do tell jokes, some better than others. I am the same person in public as I am in private. You have seen me do it on TV through all my briefings and for 40 years before that.”
Those photos — along with some of other politicians hugging or kissing people — made-up the bulk of Cuomo’s 85-page response to the investigation report that was released Tuesday.
Gov. Cuomo has released an 85-page written response to the independent investigation, but it’s only 26 pages of text. Most of the rest is dozens of photos of him hugging people and other politicians hugging people: https://t.co/qjNW1idpOY pic.twitter.com/AmyfNpKzXG
— Brian M. Rosenthal (@brianmrosenthal) August 3, 2021
One of the photos featured former President Barack Obama hugging former Secretary of States Hillary Clinton, and another showed former President George W. Bush hugging a victim of Hurricane Katrina.