CNN anchor Chris Cuomo — who has previously come under fire for the blurred lines between his personal and professional relationship with his brother, New York governor Andrew Cuomo — drafted a statement for the latter responding to allegations of sexual misconduct back in February.
The suggested statement came in the form of an email unearthed by New York attorney general Leticia James’s investigation into Cuomo, the findings of which were released in a press conference on Tuesday morning. “Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” explained James.
Governor Cuomo had seemingly weathered the storm earlier this year, but the 165-page report has resulted in renewed calls for his resignation, including from several New York Democrats. It was already known that the younger Cuomo had helped advise his brother through the initial onslaught of criticism, but the reports reveals new details about his involvement. The anchor’s suggested wording reads as follows:
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.
I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.
sometimes [sic] I am playful and make jokes. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. My only desire is to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.
I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I’m sorry and feel deeply embarrassed about that.
Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is that you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.
As conservative commentator Katie Pavlich points out, the statement bears a striking resemblance to the one that was released by the governor later that same day.
On the left, an email showing CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo involved in crafting a statement for Governor Andrew Cuomo on February 28, 2021.
On the right, the official statement released by the Governor's office on February 28, 2021. pic.twitter.com/ymL9P29puK
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) August 3, 2021
After the initial allegations against Governor Cuomo were levied during the winter, Chris had announced on his show that “obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother. Obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.”
Previously, he had brought his brother on his program a number of times. In June 2020, he lavished praise on him, and described his reaction to the governor’s performance during the pandemic thusly:
“I’m wowed by what you did, and more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it. This was very hard. I know it’s not over. But obviously I love you as a brother, obviously I’ll never be objective, obviously I think you’re the best politician in the country.”
New York has one of the worst per capita COVID-19 death rates in the country.
CNN head of strategic communications Matt Dornic did not respond to a request for comment. After the initial news of Chris’s involvement in the response to the allegations broke, CNN declined to discipline him. When it came to light that Cuomo had sought and received special treatment from his brother, Dornic defended him as having “turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.