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Gov. Cuomo holds first news conference in months after allegations pile up, says accusers are 'angry,' 'jealous,' and 'want attention'

Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images

It has been a while since the nation has heard from scandal-plagued New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The radio silence came to an end Monday as the governor held his first news conference in months, the New York Post reported.

During the presser, Cuomo faced questions about swirling accusations, which include mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic, abusive behavior toward political opponents, harassment of female staffers, ethical questions about his book on leadership, and a New York Times report that he used slurs against transexuals and Jews.

The governor adamantly denied doing anything wrong and said his accusers were "angry" and "jealous" opportunists hungry for attention.

What scandals?

Cuomo came under fire last year for his failed response to the pandemic, which included putting COVID-positive patients in nursing homes with vulnerable populations. The move led to the deaths of thousands of longterm-care facility residents.

Then came the reported cover-up. A staffer from the governor's office admitted to Democratic lawmakers that the governor had purposefully underreported the number of deaths and attempted to cover up the deadly screwup.

Those reports were followed by accusations from members of the media and multiple Democratic officials — including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — that Cuomo regularly engaged in threats and intimidation against anyone he felt was a political foe.

All the while, Cuomo's book on leadership in a time of crisis praising his own efforts in handling the pandemic was getting panned. As the governor's critics both took on the content of the book and the governor's apparent lack of self-awareness, reporters began to uncover reports that the governor may have inappropriately used state resources to research and write his book — a book that saw a $4 million payday for Cuomo.

As the COVID and political abuse allegations continued to gain steam, women began to come out of the woodwork to accuse Cuomo of inappropriate sexual behavior and harassment.

And then just a couple weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine reported on Cuomo's history of multiple inappropriate remarks, including an anti-trans slur he allegedly made to a male official, comments he reportedly said about his own skills at oral sex, and the claim that he called Jews celebrating Sukkot as "these people and their f***ing tree houses."

What did Cuomo say Monday?

The governor held an in-person presser Monday at the New York State Fairgrounds, his first since late November, the Post reported. Though the scandals were not the reason for the event, reporters were not about to let him get away without addressing the accusations.

"Yes or no. Did you do the things you're accused of," a reporter asked the governor about the sexual harassment accusations.

He replied, "No, no."

Asked if he would discipline himself or consider resigning if New York Democratic Attorney General Tish James' investigation into the sexual harassment allegations found something different and that he did harass the accusers since he has claimed to have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, Cuomo responded, "The report can't say anything different because I didn't do anything wrong."

Another reporter asked Cuomo about the New York Times Magazine report, which the governor blasted as slanderous reporting.

"I never said any such things, and I told the Times that I never said any such thing," he said. "They printed slurs and slander, and you'd have to ask them why they did that."

When a reporter asked why his accusers would say the things they have, the governor ripped them as "angry" and "jealous."

"People say a lot of things in politics," he said laughingly. "Why do people say things? Who knows. People are venial. People want attention. People are angry. People are jealous."

"Who knows why people spread rumors," Cuomo added.

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