Then he detailed the advice he gave him — including to resign.
Both the network and its “CNN Prime Time” host have faced criticism for his interactions with his older brother, who announced last week that he would resign following a state attorney general’s report detailing sexual harassment accusations against him.
On Monday, back from vacation for his first day on the air since Andrew Cuomo’s announcement, Chris Cuomo addressed the issues for what he said would be the last time.
“I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,” he said.
Following a May report in the Washington Post that Chris Cuomo had joined in strategy calls with a group of his brother’s advisers when the harassment allegations surfaced, CNN called it inappropriate.
Cuomo said that it was a mistake and said Monday he did not do it again. A portion of his monologue from last night:
As for me, I’ve told you it’s never easy being in this business and coming from a political family, especially now. The situation is unlike anything I could have imagined.
And yet, I know what matters at work and at home. Everyone knows you support your family. I know and appreciate that you get that, but you should also know I never covered my brother’s troubles because I obviously have a conflict and there are rules at CNN about that.
I said last year that his appearances on this show would be short-lived and they were. The last was over a year ago, long before any kind of scandal.
I also said back then that a day would come when he would have to be held to account and I can’t do that. I said point-blank, I can’t be objective when it comes to my family, so I never reported on the scandal and when it happened, I tried to be there for my brother.
The network did not comment further when details of those early meetings emerged in the attorney general’s report, and has not disciplined him publicly.
“I wasn’t in control of anything,” Cuomo said on the air. “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’ll try to do to be better, be contrite. Finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and your words are perceived.”
While he never imagined he would have to do it, “I did advise my brother to resign when the time came,” he said.
That advice apparently came after the attorney general’s report. The Post said in May that when the charges first came up, Chris Cuomo urged his brother to take a defiant position and not resign.
Chris Cuomo said he never reported on his brother’s situation for CNN and never attempted to influence coverage of the situation by others at the network. He made note of his brother’s appearances on his show for interviews at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year — an exception to the policy that he not report on his brother — but said they were “short-lived.”
He said he knew there would be a time his brother would be held to account, and “I could not do that.”
“It’s never easy being in this business and coming from a political family,” said Cuomo, son of the late Mario Cuomo, a three-term New York governor.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.