Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo took his attempted comeback tour to a Brooklyn church Sunday, where he claimed he was the victim of “political sharks” in his first in-person speech since leaving office.
The disgraced former governor, who resigned in August over allegations of sexual misconduct, blamed “cancel culture” for his political fall and hinted that he wants to return to public life.
“The political sharks in Albany smelled blood,” he told congregants at God’s Battalion of Prayer Church, a predominantly Black church where the pastor is an ally. “And they exploited the situation for their political purpose.”
Cuomo angrily denounced the investigation by Attorney General Letitia James’s office that found he’d harassed 11 women, though he did not mention her or any of his other foes by name.
Last August, James released a bombshell report detailing the allegations against Cuomo. A former aide said Cuomo kissed her on the lips without permission and asked her to play strip poker. Another former staffer said the governor tried to establish a sexual relationship with her. A state trooper said he harassed her while she was on his personal security detail, among other allegations.
While apologizing for making the women feel “uncomfortable,” Cuomo denied any wrongdoing, a claim he repeated Sunday.
He noted local prosecutors have declined to pursue criminal charges against him — although he didn’t mention the attorneys found the allegations to be credible.
“Do you know how many of the cases they found to bring?” he fumed. “Zero, zero, zero cases.”
He repeated accusations of “prosecutorial misconduct” by James’ office.
“They didn’t act in the interest of justice. … They acted in their own self-interest,” Cuomo said. “They wanted me out because they wanted my job.”
James launched a gubernatorial campaign after releasing the Cuomo report but dropped out in December.
In recent weeks, Cuomo has gradually emerged from seclusion, dining with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday and with Mayor Adams last month.
His attorney Rita Glavin, meanwhile, has remained on the attack against Cuomo’s accusers.
His moves have drawn outrage from Cuomo critics, including Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
“It is disgusting but not surprising to see former Gov. Cuomo embracing his own version of the ‘Big Lie’ with his claim that ‘cancel culture’ overturned his election,” the Manhattan Democrat said.
“Let’s be clear: the person responsible for Andrew Cuomo’s behavior and its delayed consequences has always been Andrew Cuomo.”
On Sunday, the ex-governor was vague on his next steps but spent several minutes talking about challenges facing the Democratic Party nationally.
“I want to take that energy that could make me bitter and use that energy to make us better,” he said.
Quoting a famous phrase by the late Rep. John Lewis, Cuomo said: “Let’s make some trouble. Let’s make some ‘good trouble.’ And let’s make this state the greatest state in the nation.”
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