andrew cuomo resignation

Chris Cuomo Denies Being ‘Adviser’ in First CNN Show Since Brother’s Resignation

Photo: Getty Images for CNN

In his first appearance since his brother Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation as New York governor, CNN host Chris Cuomo defended his actions offering advice to his sibling who faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment, amid other scandals in his administration. “My position has never changed,” Cuomo said. “I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program.”

Cuomo — who returned from a birthday vacation announced days before his brother’s resignation — also claimed that he was not an adviser to his brother. Such a framing contradicts New York attorney general Letitia James’s report on Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment, which states that this spring the governor spoke with his brother and others inside and outside his Albany circle in “regular discussions” on how to handle the crisis. Cuomo claimed that he was “not an adviser,” but simply “a brother” who was “there to listen, offer my take.” Cuomo then described how he advised his brother: “My advice to my brother was simple and consistent. Own what you did. Tell people what you’ll do to be better. Be contrite. And finally accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and words were perceived.” He added that he “did urge” his brother “to resign when the time came.”

While James’s report confirms that Chris Cuomo was on a call in which advisers told the governor to express “contrition,” Cuomo also appeared to have drafted a statement for his brother — which included the line “sometimes I am playful and make jokes” — following Charlotte Bennett’s accusation of sexual harassment in February. Previously, the Washington Post reported that the CNN host urged his brother not to resign as alleged victims came forward, and told him to stay defiant in the face of accusations, in part by mentioning “cancel culture” as a reason not to back down. (CNN stated in May that it was “inappropriate” for Cuomo “to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.”)

Though some of the CNN host’s critics may have perceived that his brother’s appearances on his show at the beginning of the pandemic constituted a conflict of interest, Cuomo denied there was any malpractice there either. “I said last year that his appearances on this show would be short-lived,” he added. “And they were. The last was over a year ago, long before any kind of scandal.”

The younger Cuomo is partially correct here: Their last joint appearance was May 21, 2020, when he made fun of the size of his older brother’s nose by suggesting that a comically large cotton test swab would be needed to conduct a test on the governor. But the pre-scandal claim may not hold up: Four days before this jab, Governor Cuomo told Dr. Elizabeth Dufort, who gave him a COVID test during one of his briefings, that “you make that gown look good.” In the attorney general’s report, Dufort said Cuomo also made a joke that was of an “implied sexual nature” and that his comments “would not have been made to an accomplished physician who was a man.”

Chris Cuomo Denies Being an ‘Adviser’ to His Brother