WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday praised the “courageous women” whose complaints of sexual harassment forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
The Democratic governor said Tuesday he will step down after a devastating report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James found he harassed 11 women — making impeachment likely.
“Our view is that this is a story about these courageous women who came forward, told their stories, shared their stories,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.
President Biden last week called on Cuomo to resign following the release of the report that corroborated claims that Cuomo made lewd remarks and inappropriately touched subordinates.
Psaki declined to comment on whether Cuomo should resign effective immediately as opposed to in 14 days as planned. She said the White House did not receive a heads up on his announcement.
Biden did not speak with Cuomo to urge his resignation, she added.
Psaki said that Biden looks forward to working with New York’s incoming governor, Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“We look forward to working with her and with a range of New York officials and continuing to deliver relief to the people of New York as we work to fight the pandemic, put people back to work and show people government can work for them,” she said.
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.
The Albany, Manhattan, Nassau and Westchester district attorneys are investigating Cuomo for possible assault charges.
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.