CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is finally speaking out in the wake of his brother Andrew Cuomo’s resignation as New York governor.
Chris Cuomo addressed the elephant in the room on Monday’s edition of his CNN show Cuomo Prime Time, admitting that “this situation is unlike anything I could have imagined.” He went on to say that “I never covered my brother’s troubles because I obviously had a conflict.” When he spoke with Andrew, he contended, he was not acting as an adviser, but as “a brother.” And he did have some advice for his brother: “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.”
The CNN anchor added that he did “urge my brother to resign when the time came,” but he remained defiant regarding any conflicts of interest. “My position has never changed. I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked, nor encouraged anyone to attack, any woman who came forward… I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family.” He also noted that when he was asked to stop talking strategy with Andrew’s advisors, “I acknowledged it was a mistake, I apologized to my colleagues, and I stopped, and I meant it.”
Chris Cuomo’s on-air statement comes nearly a week after his brother Andrew Cuomo, who has served as the governor of New York since 2011, announced his resignation on Aug. 10, with New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul set to succeed him on Tuesday, Aug. 24. (Chris Cuomo was on a pre-planned, annual August vacation when his brother resigned.)
Beginning in December 2020, multiple women — including several of Gov. Cuomo’s current and former aides — came forward to accuse him of behavior including sexual harassment, sexism and the creation of a toxic work environment, all of which the governor denied. New York Attorney General Letitia James opened a formal investigation into the allegations in February, and on Aug. 3, James stated the findings of the probe, confirming that Gov. Cuomo was found to have kissed, groped or made suggestive comments to 11 women.
As the initial allegations against the governor surfaced earlier this year, Chris Cuomo stated on Cuomo Prime Time that although other CNN journalists would report on the accusations, he would not, citing a conflict of interest.
“Obviously I am aware of what’s going on with my brother. And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother,” he said at the time. “Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively, and they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so.”
Two months later, The Washington Post reported that Chris had participated in strategy calls with Gov. Cuomo and senior members of his staff regarding how the governor should respond to allegations against him, with multiple sources claiming that Chris advised his brother not to resign from office. Though CNN opted not to discipline Chris at the time, the network acknowledged in a statement that “it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the governor’s staff,” and Chris said in an on-air apology that “it will not happen again.”
The August report summarizing the investigation against Gov. Cuomo detailed how exactly Chris was involved in those strategy talks. Most notably, Chris appeared to have helped write a formal apology that Gov. Cuomo issued on Feb. 28, in which he stated, “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
A subsequent August report by The Washington Post said Gov. Cuomo was still privately conferring with Chris about the allegations, even after the attorney general revealed the findings of the investigation. The governor’s eventual resignation announcement sparked a fresh wave of criticism against Chris and CNN; in an appearance on The Late Show, CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter admitted the imbroglio was “an odd conflict” for his network.
Watch Chris Cuomo’s statement in full below, and then hit the comments to share your thoughts.
Chris Cuomo addresses his brother's resignation, says "I never covered my brother's troubles because I obviously had a conflict." He doesn't apologize for advising him — in fact he denies serving as an adviser altogether — and says he urged Andrew to resign. pic.twitter.com/onqRTuqmvJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 17, 2021