The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker pushed White House press secretary Jen Psaki to detail President Joe Biden’s “red line” for verbal or physical harassment.
Parker mentioned Biden’s own recently-resigned communications staffer TJ Ducklo, who made sexist insults to Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, and asked where Biden’s “red line” on such behavior might be — particularly in the context of new accusations against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (RELATED: Biden’s Deputy Press Secretary Resigns After Drama Over Allegations That He Intimidated Politico Reporter)
Parker began by asking for the White House to comment on the accusations against Cuomo, which include both verbal and physical advances. (RELATED: Another Former Cuomo Staffer Accuses Him Of Sexual Harassment)
“Where is the red line for this president and the administration? Is it only unwanted physical overtures, or is it unwelcome language between a boss and a subordinate with a power differential?” Parker asked.
“That story was incredibly uncomfortable to read as a woman,” Psaki replied, adding that any woman who came forward should be treated with dignity and respect as she told her story. “There is a process of reviewing, as you noted.”
Parker then pivoted to Ducklo, asking whether the Biden administration had a specific “red line” and whether it would apply to inappropriate and abusive language or only to physical actions.
“I’m, not sure — a red line for whom? I’m not sure what you mean in what could it, with what outcome?” Psaki asked for clarification.
Parker noted that the accusations against Cuomo included both inappropriate questions and unwanted physical advances, asking again where the Biden administration might draw a hard line.
“Questions about someone’s personal life or sex life or romantic life, or anything that makes someone feel uncomfortable, especially in a subordinate,” Parker pressed. “Is that something where someone should have to resign? Or should there be other consequences?”
“The president has a bar for what is expected in his administration, which you referenced,” Psaki replied. “Treating people with civility, treating people with respect, and that’s what bar he holds in his administration. In terms of the path forward and the outcome of the investigation, we will leave it to the attorney general and others to conclude that.”