Mar 3, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript March 3: Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript March 3
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript March 3: Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a COVID-19 press conference on March 3, 2021 amid sexual harassment allegations. He addressed the allegations, saying “I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone.” Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus and vaccine updates for New York here.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (00:01)
Good afternoon. From my far right, we have Ms. Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations. To her left, Beth Garvey, Special Counsel. To my right, Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the Department of Health. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to The Governor. To her left, Robert Mujica, Budget Director of the State of New York, MTA board member, CUNY board member, many hats. Good news today. Overall state positivity rate 3.53. 75 statewide deaths still. After all this time, we still have New Yorkers dying. 75. Those families are in our thoughts and prayers. State wide hospitalizations are down 46, ICU down 29, intubations down 12. This is great news. This is great news. Remember what happened, we hit the holiday season. We talked about it. Thanksgiving, holiday season, 37 days, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, more social gatherings. The number would go up. The number did go up. January 4th it peaks. When you think about it, holiday season’s over, new year’s day, new year’s eve. It peaks, and it has continually dropped. But it has dropped to a level below where it was before it started to peak.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (01:45)
So Christmas, a little bit after Thanksgiving, but before we saw any big increase, we’re about 6,600, go up to 8,000 and now we’re down to 5,400. So we’ve really made tremendous progress. And this is really, really good news. It’s not over and we have to continue, but this is very, very good news. Percent of hospitalized is down across the state and that’s all good news. New York City’s the highest at 0.04 right now. COVID positivity, which plus or minus relates to the hospitalization, Long Island, New York, Mid-Hudson. Long Island, New York, Mid-Hudson. What people should get from these slides or these numbers, ask yourself why is there such a variance within one state? Why is there such a variance in demographic areas that are basically very similar? Why is Mid-Hudson four times higher than central New York, right?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (03:13)
These areas, same state, same basic demographics. It is about behavior. It is about behavior. It’s about what we do. You take Western New York, 1.9. Western New York for weeks was a trouble area. And now it’s 1.9 because the community changed, the community adapted, the community heard. And this is a function of personal behavior. And that’s why you’re seeing these variances across the state. You look at New York City, the Bronx is down where it was, but 5%. It’s double Manhattan. Staten Island, which was an aberration is now more in line. But Staten Island, Bronx, Queens are all about the same. It is about behavior. Vaccines, we have big news. Just under 5 million vaccines done overall. Really good news. We had a White House call yesterday. Johnson & Johnson vaccine has arrived in New York. This is from a practical point of view, not a medical point of view, much easier than the Pfizer, Moderna vaccines.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (04:39)
It’s one shot. You don’t have to come back for a second shot. You don’t have to schedule a second shot. It doesn’t take a second appointment and there’s no cold storage for the Johnson & Johnson. So it’s a very big deal. We are expecting an initial traunch of about 164,000 doses. And I’ll explain in a moment what I mean by first traunch. This first traunch, which is large, will be administered by radically ramping up the vaccination system. We had the Pfizer, Moderna. We were scaled to the Pfizer, Moderna. On top of that, the federal government then adds about 160,000 doses, which is a lot of doses for the state. So we needed extra ramp up of actual vaccination operations because of this Johnson & Johnson influx. It’s good news, but we have to then get it in arms as soon as possible. We’ve taken a number of measures, but among them are mass vaccination sites, Yankee Stadium, Javits, State Fair.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (06:05)
They’re going to go to 24/7. I want to thank the staff very much that is willing to do that because that is a big deal. And these are staff that are stretched to begin with. But they’ll go to 24/7. You can make an appointment. That will only last for the duration of that initial first large traunch of Johnson & Johnson. After that first traunch of Johnson & Johnson, the production is actually going to slow and lag and then build back up again. So we have this one time blip, one time large traunch, good news. Then it will slow, then it will ramp up again. But I’ll ask Kelly Cummings who’s been doing a great job getting these mass vaccination sites, the transfer to 24/7 and ask Kelly if she has any additional comments.

Kelly Cummings: (07:04)
Sure. Yankee Stadium will begin operations tomorrow night, Thursday night. The appointments open this morning. It will be operating with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the overnight hours, as the governor said, as the supply lasts. The Javits Center in New York city and the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, they will begin operations on Friday night and appointments will open tomorrow, Thursday at 8:00 AM for those two sites.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (07:34)
Thank you, Kelly. How many nights will these sites open 24 hours, seven? We’re not clear yet. It’s going to depend on how many people come in for the vaccine. I know there’s a pent up demand. I believe people will show up in the middle of the night to get the vaccine. But we’re talking several days to a week in that range. And then once we run out of the initial traunch of Johnson & Johnson, then it will basically scale back down. We’re also using other mechanisms to get out the additional doses; pharmacies, FQHCs, local health departments and hospitals. Because remember, on top of the Johnson & Johnson, we also have an increase in the Pfizer, Moderna vaccines. The Biden administration has increased the percentage of vaccines about 70% since they’ve taken office. It’s really amazing what he has done. But again, the Johnson & Johnson increase is a one-time infusion, then a brief lag in production, then an increase.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (08:52)
The overall picture is that President Biden says there’ll be a vaccine supply for all Americans by the end of May. Now, it was the end of July. He’s now moving it up to the end of May and that is a very significant increase. Apparently using the Defense Production Act, they have accelerated the production of the vaccine. And Johnson & Johnson and Merck have formed a partnership. So Merck is going to help produce a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Normally drug companies don’t play nice like this, but the president used the Defense Production Act. This is going to dramatically increase the production. This is what’s allowing them to move up the schedule until May. The president also says, prioritize teachers. And he wants the states and then the local governments directed by the states to prioritize teachers. I believe president Biden is right.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (09:58)
We need children back in classrooms. Children not in classrooms hurts the child, it hurts their socialization. It puts additional stress on the family. Every expert will say it. As soon as you can get children back in the classroom, get them back in the classroom. We have classrooms where the infection rate is much lower than the surrounding community. The teachers need and deserve a right to feel safe. They do. And even before President Biden said this, I said last week, local governments must report on how many teachers are vaccinated and coordinate with the school districts to report how many teachers are in the classrooms. In other words, I believe a teacher could say, “I want a vaccine before I go into the classroom.” Okay. How many teachers have we vaccinated and how many are in classrooms? For cities, this information is easy to gather because the city is-

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (11:03)
… information is easy to gather because the City is coterminous with the School District. Other areas, you’ll have school districts overlapping counties. So they’ll have to call the school districts and get the data. But this is President Biden’s point, he wants a prioritization of vaccination for teachers because he wants teachers in the classroom.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (11:27)
Now, you have a lot of prioritizations going on in this vaccination process. Nursing home residents were prioritized. Nursing home staff was prioritized. Hospital staff was prioritized, police, teachers, school teachers. So we have a long priority list. But I think the president is right. This is about getting kids back into the classroom.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (11:56)
Overall COVID rates are down, as we just went through. Vaccine rates are up, so we continue the smart reopening, right? The graphic that nobody likes. What we have done, which has been very smart from day one, report, reopen based on science and data. “I feel this, I feel that,” feelings are nice. Facts are better. And we have been calibrating by the science and the data.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (12:29)
On the COVID Emergency Powers, we’ve worked with the legislature. We have an agreement on a bill where the legislature can repeal any Executive Order that I issue with over 50%, both houses. The COVID Emergency Powers continue past April 30th. When we first did this, we thought the pandemic would be over April 30th. This is a year ago. We said about a year. At that time, it was implausible to think it was going to go beyond the year.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (13:05)
It’s gone beyond the year and it’s not going to end by April 30th. So they’re going to extend, the legislation extends, the Emergency Power to the point where the federal government declares an end to the pandemic. Which the federal government does, it controls funds, etc. We have more time in this situation, by and large, we’ll give the legislature notice of any changes that we’re making five days prior to effect. If it is an emergency change, as determined by Department of Health, then it will be a shorter period of time. I don’t remember exactly what it was. Do you remember what it was Beth?

Beth Garvey: (13:53)
It depends on the emergency. We’ll give notice as soon as possible.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (13:55)
Okay. And during the five days, there’ll be legislative consultation on the change orders that we make during the five days. And again, whatever order I put in place, the legislature can repeal it in 24 hours or whenever they choose. And that’s always been the way.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (14:19)
Travel guidance. Domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine or test-out within the 90 days of full vaccination. International travelers, you have to continue to follow the CDC quarantine guidelines. Gathering limits, we’re going to change. And let me go to Rob who’s done a lot of work on this.

Robert Mujica: (14:39)
Beginning March 22nd, for residential gatherings, the indoor limits remains the same. The outdoor limit goes to from 10 to 25 outdoor, which is consistent with some of the states around us. The social gathering limit for public spaces on indoor events goes from 50 to 100 and then for outdoor events, it would go from 50 to 200.

Robert Mujica: (15:09)
All of those will still also require social distancing as well as mask requirements. And then beginning on April 2nd, we’ve started with opening large event spaces, which was 10,000 or more for arenas starting with the Buffalo Bills. Subsequent to that, last night, the Rangers had a couple of thousand people at their game. Nets, last Saturday, also held a basketball game using those guidelines that we got from the Buffalo Bills.

Robert Mujica: (15:40)
So following from that for events spaces that are less than 10,000, those can begin reopening at 33% capacity with up to 100 people indoors and, again, 200 people outdoors. Again, there still will be guidance for social distancing and masks. If we want to go above those limits, you can go up to 150 people in door with testing requirements for going from 100 to 150, and then for outdoor events up to 500 people outdoors with testing. And again, social distancing and face covering will be required by all of the attendees.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (16:22)
Rob, can you please just mention the Empire Pass program?

Robert Mujica: (16:25)
On the Empire Pass program, we have an app that we have been working with, working with IBM on that app. When you get tested, with your consent, the results of that test will be reported automatically to the app and then you can then show proof of a negative test upon entrance to any of these events that require testing.

Robert Mujica: (16:54)
That app has been tested right now both at Barclays and at Madison Square Garden and those tests have been successful. So once we get the approvals, the app will be available for download on both platforms, on Google and Apple platforms people can download to their smart phones. That will allow someone to show the result of their test, whether it be a PCR test which will be valid for up to 72 hours, or a rapid test which will be valid for six hours.

Robert Mujica: (17:32)
In addition though, if you don’t want to use an app, you will be able to download a paper result of your test that you can then print out and use that to demonstrate your negative test. So again, this was all tested. It started with the Bills games, it has been tested at two events recently, the most recent one as early as last night. And that will be available and we’ll start rolling that out, again, beginning within a week. You can use that to go to some of these events when we want to get to the larger numbers, like I said, to go to 250 for indoor events or up to 500 people for outdoor event.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (18:16)
Great, thank you very much Robert. Foundation to reopening, we talk a lot about reopening and the valves and getting the economy back. The foundation to reopening is public safety. People don’t think of it that way, but a community is not going to thrive if people don’t feel safe. After the George Floyd murder, we have had localities working on reforming their public safety plans.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (18:48)
Mr. Floyd’s death was really just a point where there was an explosion of frustration. And we said to every local government, “We’re not telling you what to do, but if you have a public safety department, you have to put everyone at the table, have a collaborative, come up with a reformed public safety plan.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (19:09)
Cities are doing fantastic work and creative work, but not all of them are doing it. If they don’t do it and we get to the budget, then there’re going to be significant sanctions on the city. Please, you have 29 days, I know it’s a hard topic. I know people would rather stay away from it. But public safety is one of the top priorities for any mayor, for any county executive, any supervisor. Public safety is a top priority. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s sticky. Yes, it’s controversial. But it’s also the job.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (19:53)
The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but we can’t stop driving now. We’ve had critical moments all through this period, but this is one of the most critical moments, in my opinion. We have a number of things going on. We have a massive ramp up of the vaccine operation by May. When President Biden says, “Oh, by the way, I’ve found the way to produce a millions more doses,” that’s great news. But now you have to ramp up a vaccination operation that goes from the end of July to May in a very large state, which is what New York is. That’s a challenge.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (20:44)
The variants are still here. Don’t think that there isn’t an ever present danger. And these variants are not just here, the variants are created all the time. The virus mutates all the time. And it’s very possible that there’s a mutation to the virus that is going to require a different type of booster shot. That’s why this is so important to get all those vaccines done now because the vaccines can protect you from the variant. But that is a lingering danger we’re dealing with. Then you have the New York recovery-rebuilding and finances. You know, when you deal with a storm, the first step is the emergency response to the storm. “There’s a hurricane. Keep everybody safe, get people in out of the cold.” Second step is, the water recedes and now you see the damage that you have to rebuild. The damage to this state, to this city is extraordinary.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (22:01)
… to this city is extraordinary, and we’re going to have a lot of work to do, and this is all happening at the same time. Environmentally, we can’t relax too soon. I get it, COVID fatigue. Everybody wants all restrictions gone. Everybody does. Yes. But you also have to be smart about the reopening. In my opinion, some states are going too far too fast, and that is a danger because COVID is still a risk. You relax those restrictions too far, you will see the beast least rise up again. Smart, New York Tough, Smart, United, Disciplined, Loving. Let me make an unrelated announcement if I can. I want to address the recent allegations that have been made against me. As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review and I will fully cooperate with that review. Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything, when you have a pending review, until that review is over. I understand that. I’m a lawyer too. But I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this. First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (24:13)
It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it. That’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth. But this is what I want you to know, and I want you to know this from me directly. I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. I never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. And I certainly never ever meant to offend anyone, or hurt anyone, or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (25:34)
I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion. The attorney general is doing that review. I will fully cooperate with it, and then you will have the facts. Make a decision when you know the facts. I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience. Thank you. Questions?

Operator: (26:49)
Thank you, governor. If you would like to ask a question, please use the raise hand function at the bottom of your window. We’ll take a brief moment to compile the Q&A roster. Governor, your first question comes from Marcia Kramer of WCBS. Marcia, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Marcia Kramer: (27:08)
Governor, can you hear me?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (27:11)
Marcia Kramer, the dean of the delegation.

Marcia Kramer: (27:16)
Governor, I have actually two questions. First of all, I wonder if given the distractions of these two investigations, especially the one involving sexual harassment, do you feel that you might want to step aside or that you should step aside, especially in negotiating the budget which could be one of the most important budgets that the state has ever had to deal with. My second question has to do with the pictures that have surfaced of you touching the face of Anna Ruch. The reason I’m asking the question is that I’ve also seen circulated pictures of you touching the faces of people all over the state, young and old, whatever, and I wonder what you make of those pictures.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (28:00)
Yeah. Thank you very much, Marcia. Let me take both questions. First, you’re right about the state budget. It is critically important. The state budget is going to turn the page to the rebuilding phase. We’ve been working very hard to get funding from Washington to fill the gap, and that has been going well. We have to see what we actually get. But we then have tremendous financial needs on top of that. People have to pay their rent, they need food, et cetera.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (28:34)
You also have New York City, which is in a very precarious situation. It’s teetering, to use a word. Crime is way up. Homelessness is way up. Many people have left New York City, Hamptons, Mid-Hudson Valley, other states. We have to get New York City functional again, and safe again, and viable again, and we have to do that quickly. We have a new mayor that’s going to be selected basically in June I guess. Something could happen in November, but basically in June, and that work has to start right away. So yes, the budget is very important. Having said that-

Marcia Kramer: (29:27)
Should you step aside though, and let somebody else handle it?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (29:29)
Yeah. Having said that, I’m going to cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation and do the budget. Remember, we did a budget last year in the spring, in the heat of COVID, where it was the most intense period of my life, of this government’s life, of this state’s life. We did both, and we’ll do both here. On the pictures, Marcia, I understand the opinion and feelings of Ms. Ruch. And you are right. You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people, women, men, children, et cetera. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women. It is my usual and customary way of greeting. You know that because you’ve watched me for let’s just say more years than we care to remember.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (30:50)
By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people. You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them. I do it. I kiss and hug legislators. I was at an event in Queens the other day, hugged the pastors and the assembly members who were there. So that is my way to do that. However, what I also understand is, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter my intent. What matters is if anybody was offended by it. And I could intend no offense, but if they were offended by it, then it was wrong. And if they were offended by it, I apologize. And if they were hurt by it, I apologize. And if they felt pain from it, I apologize. I apologize. I did not intend it. I didn’t mean it that way, but if that’s how they felt, that’s all that matters, and I apologize. Next question, operator.

Operator: (32:16)
Governor, your next question comes from Dave Evans from WABC. Dave, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Dave Evans: (32:27)
[inaudible 00:32:27] Can you hear me okay?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (32:28)
Yeah Dave.

Dave Evans: (32:30)
Governor, I just wanted to ask you, with all these calls in the last couple days calling for your resignation from some Democrats, apparently not all Democrats, but some Democrats, is today, the issue’s been going for about a week, is this your way of saying, I’m certainly not resigning.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (32:52)
Yeah. Dave look, some politicians will always play politics. Right? That’s the nature of the beast. I don’t think today is a day for politics.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (33:03)
That’s the nature of the beast. I don’t think today is a day for politics. I wasn’t elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of the State of New York. I’m not going to resign. I work for the people of the State of New York. They elected me and I’m going to serve the people of the State of New York. And by the way, we have a full plate. We have COVID. We have recovery. We have rebuilding, we have a teetering New York City. We have a terrible financial picture. We have to do vaccines. So no, I’m going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do. Next question, operator.

Operator: (33:43)
Governor. Your next question comes from Andrew Siff of WNBC. Andrew, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Andrew Siff: (33:52)
Governor, good afternoon, two questions. The first is given how contrite you’ve been today, why did it take a week for you to go before the cameras when people have noted your absence for so many days? My second question is what assurances can you provide New Yorkers that there are not other accusers who work for you, who will lodge similar complaints to the two that have already been alleged?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (34:21)
Yeah, two things, Andrew. I apologized several days ago. I apologize today. I will apologize tomorrow. I will apologize the day after. And I want New Yorkers to understand, because the facts will come out in the attorney general’s review, but I want them to understand the emotion because it’s really, for me, it’s as much about the emotion. I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. I never ever meant to offend anyone, or hurt anyone, or cause anyone pain.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (35:10)
I feel terrible that these people felt uncomfortable, felt hurt, felt pain from the interactions, and I’m embarrassed by it. And I feel bad from it. I’m not in this business to make people feel uncomfortable. I’m here to help them. That’s the essence of what I do, what I do. I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of. I didn’t know I was making her uncomfortable at the time. I feel badly that I did, and I’m going to learn from it. Marsha asked me about, my usual custom is the kiss and to hug and, and make that gesture. I understand that sensitivities have changed and behavior has changed and I get it. And I’m going to learn from it. Next question.

Operator: (36:36)
Governor. Your next question comes from Karina Gerry of WUTR. Karina, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Karina Gerry: (36:45)
Thank you, governor. Hi. How are you?

Operator: (36:46)
Good. How are you?

Karina Gerry: (36:48)
I’m good. So I actually have two questions. My first one is, if a member of your administration had done what you are currently accused of and have admitted to, what would you tell them and what would be a satisfactory disposition for you?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (37:07)
Well, let’s be clear on the facts. First, we haven’t gotten the facts, let the attorney general do a review and let’s get the facts. And that’s what I said in my statement to New Yorkers. I’m a former attorney general. I’ve been through a situation too many times where everybody has an opinion because they read this, they read this, and then all of a sudden the facts come out and it’s a different situation. So wait for the facts before you form an opinion. And as I said, my behavior here, I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable. And if I ever did make people feel uncomfortable, which I now understand that I have, I apologize for it. But then let the attorney general’s office actually review the facts.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:04)

Karina Gerry: (38:04)
Yes. Thank you.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:07)
Thank you.

Karina Gerry: (38:07)
Thank you.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:07)
Next question, operator.

Operator: (38:11)
Governor. Your next question comes from Jeff Kulikowsky of WSYR. Jeff, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (38:21)
Hi governor. I was curious, and I know you said an apologized several times this afternoon, who where you apologizing to?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:33)
I was apologizing to the young woman who worked here, who said that I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (38:52)
Were you are you also speaking to New Yorkers, governor?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:55)
Oh, to New Yorkers, I’m saying that I’m embarrassed by what happened. I wear a pin that says pride, integrity, performance. That’s what it says on the pin. You can’t read it. Pride, integrity, performance. So I’m embarrassed that someone felt that way in my administration I’m embarrassed and hurt. And I apologize that somebody who interacted with me felt that way.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (39:39)
Again, I didn’t know at the time I was making her feel uncomfortable. I never meant to, but that doesn’t matter. If a person feels uncomfortable, if a person feels pain, if a person is offended, I feel very badly about that. And I apologize for it. There’s no, but. It’s, I’m sorry. Let’s take one more question, operator.

Operator: (40:16)
Governor, your next question comes from Jennifer Lewke of WHEC. Jennifer, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Jennifer Lewke: (40:25)
Good afternoon, governor. I actually have two questions. One for you, and one for Melissa. Governor, have you yourself taken the sexual harassment training required by New York that all employers are to give to their employees? And Melissa, as the highest ranking woman in state government right now, and someone who interacts with the governor on a daily basis, how do you feel about these allegations against him? And what is your message to women who see you in your position and see these allegations against the governor?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (40:59)
Short answer is yes. And I’ll turn it over to Melissa. Just keep in mind, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who work with Melissa. We have more senior women in this administration than probably any administration in history, but I’ll ask Melissa to respond.

Melissa DeRosa: (41:22)
Again. I would just ask that everyone refrain from judgment until the attorney general’s allowed to do her work. We’ve asked her to come in, everyone’s going to fully comply with that, but I am incredibly proud of the work that this administration has done to further women’s rights, to expand protections for women in the workplace, out of the workplace, maternal health, reproductive health, the list goes on and on and on.

Melissa DeRosa: (41:49)
And I’m also proud that in my time as secretary, we’ve seen more women rise to highest levels in terms of commissioners and senior staff levels, and we’ve promoted each other, and we’ve supported one another. And I don’t think that this diminishes any of that. And I look forward to continuing the work that we’re doing in order to continue to further the women’s agenda and strengthen women’s rights for all New Yorkers.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: (42:13)
Okay. Thank you all very much. Have a good day. COVID numbers are good. Still be smart. Thank you.

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