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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo returned from vacation Monday night and addressed the biggest story to break during his week off the air (at least until the Afghanistan news broke over the weekend): his brother New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
“This situation is unlike anything I’ve imagined,” the CNN host said, acknowledging that he did not cover his older brother’s scandals.
“I’m not an adviser. I’m a brother. I wasn’t in control of anything, I was there to listen, and offer my take,” he added. “My advice to my brother was simple and consistent: own what you did, tell people what you will 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.”
“And while it was not something that I ever imagined ever having to do, I did urge my brother to resign, when the time came,” he added.
The CNN host had largely ignored covering his brother, citing a rule from CNN management that he refrain from doing so due to the obvious conflict of interest.
However, last year, in the early days of the pandemic, Gov. Cuomo appeared on his younger brother’s 9 p.m. CNN program a handful of times to discuss the state’s fight against COVID-19. Those appearances ended around the same time that the state faced scrutiny over how it handled nursing home residents who had tested positive for the virus. In December, the governor would be accused of inappropriate behavior toward a former staffer.
Cuomo broke his silence in May, however, after it came out that he had helped his brother respond to some of the misconduct allegations, joining calls and email chains with some of his brother’s staff. “It was a mistake, because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that, I would never intend for that, and I’m sorry for that,” the CNN host said on his program at the time.
“I stopped, and I meant it,” Cuomo said Monday. “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation, and I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family.”
A subsequent report from New York Attorney General Letitia James suggested that the CNN host helped craft a public statement for his brother in response to one of the harassment claims. There remain questions about what else Cuomo told state investigators about his involvement in the matter.
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