When CNN’s Jim Acosta arrived at CPAC on Friday, he was quickly engulfed by conference attendees heckling him and chanting, “CNN sucks!”
This year’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference—being held this year in Orlando, Florida instead of Washington, D.C. due to COVID-19 restrictions—began on Friday, will feature a whole assortment of conservative speakers and culminate with former President Donald Trump speaking on Sunday.
Video from Bloomberg News’ William Turton at the scene shows Acosta completely surrounded in a large, open-space lobby area by a crowd of cellphone-wielding attendees.
At one point in Turton’s footage, a woman could be heard saying, “Get him. Get him.”
One man wearing a mask that appeared to say “Joe Biden Is Not My President” also shouted, “Fake news. Jim Acosta is fake news!”
Then the crowd starts chanting “CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” and the Acosta tries to make his way through the sea of people.
At another point while Acosta was stuck in the crowd, David Marcus of The Federalist confronted the CNN journalist about the network’s lack of coverage of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s numerous ongoing scandals while Acosta was conducting an interview.
MORE ON GOV. CUOMO: De Blasio calls for investigation into Cuomo sexual harassment claims
“When are you guys going to start covering Cuomo?” Marcus asked him bluntly, with Acosta telling him that he was in the middle of an interview.
Marcus repeated his question, and Acosta asserted that “we do.”
The exchange then devolved into Marcus saying CNN hasn’t been covering Cuomo and Acosta saying the network has been, with Marcus getting more specific about the governor’s scandals.
Acosta tried to deescalate the situation, saying to him, “Sir, let me just finish this interview and then I’ll talk to you, okay? If you don’t mind.”
“No,” Marcus angrily replied.
“What do you mean ‘no’?” Acosta asked.
“I mean no,” Marcus responded.
“Well then excuse me, I have an interview,” Acosta said, brushing him off.
Marcus then approached Acosta again and interrupted his interview, continuing to ask him questions about covering Cuomo.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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