White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged a question Sunday morning from ABC’s Jon Karl about whether Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo still represents “the gold standard for leadership during the pandemic.”
Cuomo has come under increasing scrutiny of late for implementing a policy early on in the pandemic that forced nursing homes to accept patients who were positive for COVID-19 and for his administration’s handling of data regarding nursing home deaths.
During a Sunday morning interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Karl played a clip of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden last spring calling Cuomo’s leadership “sort of the gold standard.”
“Now we’ve seen that Governor Cuomo has allegedly undercounted nursing home deaths, misled legislators in New York,” Karl said. “So does President Biden still consider Andrew Cuomo the gold standard when it comes to leadership on the pandemic?”
“Well, Jon, we work with Governor Cuomo just like we work with governors across the country,” Psaki responded. “He’s also chair of the NGA, so he plays an important role in ensuring that we’re coordinating closely and getting assistance out to people of his state and to states across the country. And we’ll continue to do that.”
“Of course, there will be a process,” she continued. “Investigations, we’ll leave that to others to determine … how that path is going to move as we look forward.”
After Psaki said the Biden administration would “continue to work” with Cuomo and other governors, Karl pointed out that she still hadn’t answered his original question.
“But Jen, my question was, does President Biden still believe that Andrew Cuomo represents the gold standard on leadership during this pandemic?” he pressed. “Just a yes or no.”
“Jon, the president, well, it doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer, Jon,” Psaki said. “I think the president is focused on his goal, his objectives as president of the United States.” (RELATED: New York Lawmaker Says Cuomo Threatened Him, Pressured Him To Lie)
The White House press secretary insisted she’s “not here to give new labels or names from the president,” but rather “to communicate with you about what our focuses are and what his objectives are as president.”