Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday attempted to rebut a damning official report that found he sexually harassed several women in violation of state and federal law — with reels of photos of him kissing, hugging and touching people through the years, including Bill Clinton and Robert De Niro.
The apparent attempts to minimize the conduct came as Cuomo pushed back on the report compiled by independent investigators retained by state Attorney General Letitia James.
“I’ve been making the same gesture in public all my life,” said Cuomo in a video response, specifically addressing his grabbing Anna Ruch by the face and kissing her cheek without her consent at a wedding in 2019.
“I actually learned it from my mother and from my father,” he continued, referring to the late, three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo. “Indeed there are hundreds, if not thousands of photos of me using the exact same gesture.”
As Cuomo described getting touchy with “black and white, young and old, straight to LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers [and] people who I meet on the street,” the video cut to a montage of still photos of him kissing, embracing or touching people from all walks of life.
They included De Niro, former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton — who saw his own political career hit the skids amid a sex scandal.
During the video, Cuomo also announced the online release of a rebuttal report authored by lawyer Rita Glavin.
But of that report’s 85 pages, eight were dedicated to more photos of Cuomo kissing or embracing prominent figures, including former President Barack Obama, former first lady, New York senator and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — who said Tuesday it was time for Cuomo to face impeachment proceedings.
And another 15 pages featured photos of other prominent politicians — including President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer — in similar positions, in an apparent bid to show that the behavior was not limited to him.
When married mom-of-three Sherry Vill accused Cuomo earlier this year of forcibly kissing her during a tour of her storm-damaged Greece, NY, home, Glavin issued a similar statement, saying in part, “During times of crisis, the Governor has frequently sought to comfort New Yorkers with hugs and kisses.”
To support the claim, Glavin included a link to the governor’s Flickr account, which included 38 photos of Cuomo’s trip to Greece — just one of which showed Cuomo kissing someone.
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