Disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday claimed he is a victim of “cancel culture” and said CNN fired his brother, Chris Cuomo, because it was “afraid of the cancel-culture mob.”
Cuomo’s comments came during a half-hour speech delivered before a crowd of about 100 congregants at God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in Brooklyn, his first public appearance in more than six months since he resigned as governor after the New York state attorney general found that the he had sexually harassed almost a dozen women.
Cuomo claimed he had been “vindicated” in the months since his resignation, noting that five district attorneys have not pressed charges against him after concluding their investigations into some of the claims, according to the New York Times. However, he left out important context: some of the prosecutors said the accusations were credible but that there were insufficient legal grounds to bring criminal charges.
Still, Cuomo used the prosecutors’ decisions not to bring charges as evidence that state attorney general Letitia James’s report was false.
“The political sharks in Albany smelled blood,” he said, claiming that the so-called “political sharks” used the situation to “overturn an election.”
He again denied wrongdoing, saying only that he may have been “old-fashioned and out of touch” and that, “I’ve learned a powerful lesson, and I paid a very high price for learning that lesson.”
Cuomo reportedly workshopped his speech with a number of close advisers for several weeks, sources told the Times. Discussions about the drafts took into account tone and optics, with advisers warning that the speech may falsely insinuate that Cuomo intends to run for office this year.
James issued a damning 165-page report last year detailing her months-long investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed eleven women, including nine current and former state employees.
The report details numerous allegations against the governor, including that the governor “hugged Executive Assistant #1 and then reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast” on November 16, 2020.
Another allegation details how Cuomo allegedly harassed a state trooper, including by “running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him at an event,” and “kissing her (and only her) on the cheek in front of another Trooper and asking to kiss her on another occasion, which she deflected.”
Cuomo on Sunday blamed his demise on cancel culture, which he said has gripped the country and the Democratic Party. He used the phrase “cancel culture” more than a dozen times in his speech, according to the Times.
“Twitter and newspaper headlines have replaced judge and jury,” he said.
He went on to claim that CNN fired his brother, Chris Cuomo, from his role as an anchor because “they were in the middle of a merger and afraid of the cancel-culture mob.”
The network fired the younger Cuomo for leaning on contacts in the media business to help Andrew Cuomo navigate his sexual-harassment scandal.
“I resigned as governor, the press roasted me, my colleagues were ridiculed, my brother was fired,” Andrew Cuomo said. “It was probably the toughest time of my life.”
James issued a statement on Sunday saying Cuomo “won’t even spare a house of worship from his lies” and suggesting New Yorkers “are ready to move forward from this sick, pathetic man.”
“Even though multiple independent investigations found his victims to be credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself,” she said.
Meanwhile, the former governor appeared to tease an eventual return to political life saying, “God isn’t done with me yet.”
“I have many options in life and I’m open to all of them,” he added.
The speech comes one month after he began spending $369,000 from his campaign account on television ads that depicted him as a victim of politically motivated attacks.
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