White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to sexual harassment allegations from a former aide about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) at her daily briefing on Thursday. FOX News White House correspondent Peter Doocy also hammered Psaki on Biden previously calling Cuomo the “gold standard” for COVID leadership. “The president has been consistent in his position,” Psaki said. “When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect; their voice should be heard, not silenced; and any allegation should be reviewed.”
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS: Thank you, Jen. The head of the group the President is going to meet with today, the National Governors Association, Andrew Cuomo, is being accused of sexual harassment by a former staffer named Lindsey Boylan. She says that Cuomo, while he was governor, gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips. He asked her to play strip poker. Is the White House worried about this becoming a distraction from an important meeting about COVID response? MS. PSAKI: Well, let me first say that the President has been consistent in his position. When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect; their voice should be heard, not silenced; and any allegation should be reviewed. Governor Cuomo is also the governor of one of the largest states in the country that has been one of the hardest hit, with millions of people still suffering from an ongoing pandemic and an economic crisis. And our focus is to continue working with governors from across the country, from a range of states, on how we’re helping people in their states. He also is still head of the National Governors Association, hence he’s at the event today. Q And to him being in charge of the governors and in charge of such a big state, will the President talk to him about these accusations from Democrats in the New York legislature that Cuomo misled the public about deaths in nursing homes throughout the pandemic? MS. PSAKI: Well, this is a meeting and a conversation with a range of governors about how we can all work together to address the pandemic and get relief to the American people, and that’s what I expect the focus of the meeting to be on. Q There are some Democrats in New York who want a – who want congressional hearings about these deaths in nursing homes. There was a Cuomo aide who told lawmakers, in February, that the Cuomo administration withheld the number of residents who died in hospitals from the public due to the fear that it would be used against them by federal prosecutors. Is this something the White House thinks would be appropriate for a congressional hearing? MS. PSAKI: It’s really up to Congress to determine how they want to review or have hearings on those reports. Q And I know you were asked about this this weekend, but I’ll try again: Does President Biden still think Andrew Cuomo is the gold standard for COVID leadership and that he’s doing a hell of a job, which he has said about him? MS. PSAKI: Well, first of all, I think, to be fair, let’s put all of the comments in context, which sometimes is missing from these conversations we have in here or during interviews. At the time – which was, I believe, April of last year – the President spoke out and said positive things about a range of governors, Democrats and Republicans, who were stepping in when there was a vacuum of leadership at the federal level, when they were getting no information, when they were getting no help and no guidance from the former Trump administration. He had – he made some positive comments about Governor Cuomo and his role in New York at the time, as he did about a range of governors.