President Joe Biden praised Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s accomplishments in office and noted he respects his decision to step down.
Cuomo maintained innocence but announced his resignation during a press conference Tuesday following an independent investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Aug. 3 that the investigation determined Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.
Biden first appeared to echo White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s response to the decision. Prior to Biden’s remarks, Psaki declined to provide a significant White House reaction to the news and pointed to the president’s previous comments on the scandal. Biden said Cuomo should resign just after the independent investigation findings.
“I respect the governor’s decision, and I respect the decision,” the president said Tuesday, noting that “the impact” of the situation “is all on Andrew Cuomo” and not on the Democratic party as a whole.
Biden was further pressed on Cuomo when CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe asked for the president’s analysis on how the Democratic governor did in office over the course of the past 10 and a half years. Biden asked if the question was referring to Cuomo’s “personal behavior or what he has done as a governor” and offered a compliment after O’Keefe asserted the question referred to the latter.
“I thought, he’s done a hell of a job,” Biden declared. “Thought he’s done a hell of a job. And … Both on – everything from access to voting, to infrastructure, a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad.”
Biden also pushed back after being pressed on whether he can say Cuomo has done “a hell of a job” after the governor was accused of sexually harassing multiple women while in office. The president said the question wasn’t about the allegations against Cuomo, and O’Keefe interjected to clarify that the question was: “How was he as a governor generally, outside of his personal behavior?”
“Outside of his personal behavior,” Biden repeated after acknowledging the accusers and the investigation’s findings. “Okay.”
The president then admitted he could not separate the two but continued on to say he “was asked a specific question” and was trying to answer that question. Biden didn’t address the nursing home scandal, which saw Cuomo issue an order prohibiting nursing homes from denying patients “solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” according to the mandate.
Nursing homes around the state took in over 9,000 COVID-positive patients before the order was rescinded and the governor was later found to have knowingly undercounted the number of deaths. (RELATED: TIMELINE: How Andrew Cuomo Went From America’s ‘Love Gov’ To Fending Off Calls For His Resignation In Less Than 12 Months)