Politics Allegations against Cuomo need to be carefully investigated, Biden's press secretary says
Cuomo's national star threatened by increased scrutiny over handling of nursing home deaths
During New York's darkest pandemic days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerged as one of the country's brightest political stars.During New York's darkest pandemic days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerged as one of the country's brightest political stars.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday said President Joe Biden supports an “independent review” of the sexual harassment accusations leveled against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week by a pair of former aides — adding that it was personally difficult for her to read the latest account of alleged misconduct by the governor.
The remarks from the president’s top spokesperson came after Lindsey Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president who formerly worked for Cuomo and the state’s economic development agency, revealed in a blog post Wednesday that the governor had kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker.
CNN's Cuomo Brothers 'Blunder' Comes Back to Haunt Network Amid Nursing Home Scandal
CNN's Chris Cuomo's lighthearted interviews with brother Andrew Cuomo in the early stages of the pandemic have received renewed scrutiny since further details have been revealed about the New York governor's response to the outbreaks in New York nursing homes.Earlier this year, CNN aired regular primetime banter between the New York governor and his brother, anchor Chris Cuomo.
Then, on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, was also sexually harassed by the governor, including inapropriate questions about her sex life.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Psaki did not answer directly Sunday when asked whether Biden believes either Bennett’s or Cuomo’s account, but said the president “has been consistent that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect and with dignity.”
“Charlotte should be treated with respect and dignity. So should Lindsey,” Psaki said. “And there should be an independent review looking into these allegations. And that’s certainly something [Biden] supports and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible.”
‘Hard to see the path out’: Cuomo besieged as crises grow
"It appears he's earned himself a primary," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.Now, two months later, he’s embroiled in two major scandals and facing a daily onslaught of questions about deaths in nursing homes, accusations of sexual impropriety and growing speculation that his political career may be in jeopardy.
Pressed further by host Dana Bash on whether Biden believes the “essence” of the allegations against Cuomo are real, Psaki replied: “Of course, Dana. He believes — that’s why I said — he believes that every woman who comes forward should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Psaki described the accusations by Boylan and Bennett as “serious,” and said specifically of Bennett’s account to the Times: “It was hard to read that story, as a woman.”
Cuomo has denied Boylan’s claims, and he told the Times in a statement that he “never made advances” toward Bennett or intended “to act in any way that was inappropriate.” He also said he had requested an independent review of the allegations.
The sexual harassment accusations come as Cuomo remains embroiled in a scandal related to his administration’s undercounting of nursing home deaths in New York due to the coronavirus.
Andrew Cuomo's Sexual Harassment Bill Lowered Bar for Complaints, Eliminated 'Severe' Requirement .
The Democratic New York governor has been accused of sexually harassing three women—including two of his former employees. On February 24, Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, detailed sexual harassment allegations against the governor that included unwanted sexual advances such as a forceable kiss and an invitation to play strip poker. In a blog post, Boylan said that Cuomo had "created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.