NEW YORK — In his first night back from a miraculously timed vacation, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tried to paint himself as just a good brother.
A week after his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, promised to resign after Attorney General Letitia James’s office found that he had sexually harassed 11 women, the younger Cuomo faced the camera and claimed he told his brother to step down.
“I was there to listen and offer my take. And my advice to my brother was simple and consistent: Own what you did. Tell people what you can 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 51-year-old host said Monday night at the top of “Cuomo Primetime.”
“While it was something I never imagined ever having to, I did urge my brother to resign when the time came.”
Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation last Tuesday, effective in 14 days, but has reportedly not handed in an official resignation notice.
Chris, meanwhile, defended reports that he was serving as an adviser to the governor as the allegations piled up against him.
“I’m not an adviser. I’m a brother,” he said.
“As you know, back in May when I was told to no longer communicate with my brother’s aides in any group meetings, I acknowledged it was a mistake. I apologize to my colleagues and I stopped and I meant it was a unique situation being a brother to a politician and a scandal and being part of the media.”
At the time, CNN insisted that the Cuomos had maintained a firewall, but admitted that even the optics were bad.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo, on air or behind the scenes,” the cable network said in a May statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
James’ report detailed a series of instances in which Chris collaborated with his brother’s team, including helping to draft a Feb. 28 statement from the governor about the mounting allegations.
Kate Feldman, New York Daily News