President Biden on Tuesday gave a stunning appraisal of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s performance, saying that he did “a hell of a job” immediately following his resignation for sexually harassing subordinates.
Biden lauded Cuomo, who leaves office in 14 days, despite the fact that Cuomo is under investigation by at least four New York district attorneys for assault and the fact that he’s under federal investigation for an admitted coverup of COVID-19 death data at New York nursing homes.
“Well, he’s done a hell of a job. He’s done a hell of a job. And I mean, both on — everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad,” Biden said.
The president did not express sympathy for Cuomo’s victims, but said that “I respect the decision he made” to resign.
In a tense exchange with CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins about how he could praise Cuomo’s job performance when “he’s accused of sexually harassing,” Biden said he was referring to Cuomo’s work as governor “outside of his personal behavior.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday praised the “courageous women” whose complaints forced Cuomo’s resignation.
Like Cuomo, Biden faces allegations of making women feel uncomfortable with unwanted touching. Biden allegedly skinny-dipped while vice president in front of Secret Service agents and a former Biden Senate aide, Tara Reade, alleges a 1993 sexual assault. But Psaki last week said the claims against Biden had been “heavily litigated” already, drawing pushback from Reade, who said her claims never were litigated.
Biden was one of the last Democratic leaders to abandon Cuomo. Most members of New York’s congressional delegation in March called for Cuomo to step down as a series of women came forward to accuse Cuomo of misconduct.
The soon-to-be ex-governor also faces federal investigations into an infamous March 2020 state order requiring nursing homes to take COVID-19-positive patients and his administration’s subsequent coverup of death statistics.
The Justice Department’s Civil Division last year launched an inquiry into all state nursing home deaths, The Post first reported in October. His administration’s admitted slow-walking of data on deaths, also first reported by The Post, in February triggered an investigation by the FBI and the Brooklyn-based US attorney’s office.
The Biden Justice Department recently said it closed a narrow probe of whether a civil rights law was violated in the state’s handling of patients at the roughly two dozen public nursing homes in New York.