Except for a few vague statements from the White House press secretary, the views of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the growing sexual misconduct scandal encircling New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) have been conspicuously slow to emerge.
Fox News reports that on Sunday, however, Biden finally broke his silence on the situation, explicitly declining to call for Cuomo’s resignation, in stark contrast to a large number of high-profile lawmakers within his own party.
Biden spoke to reporters briefly on the South Lawn of the White House, and when he was questioned about whether he believed Cuomo should step down, stated, “I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us,” according to NBC News.
The president’s position is in line with one expressed on Sunday morning by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who explained to George Stephanopoulous of ABC’s This Week that the allegations against Cuomo are “credible and serious,” but that it is best to wait for the outcome of an investigation being conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James, adding:
Hopefully this result will be soon, and what I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart – he loves New York – to see if he can govern effectively.
The stance taken by Biden and Pelosi reveals something of a divide within the Democrat Party concerning Cuomo’s fitness to remain in office. On Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) formally joined the swelling numbers of officials at the local, state, and federal levels who are seeking the governor’s resignation.
For his part, Cuomo persists in defiantly clinging to power, though the pressure he faces to step down only continues to mount from state legislators, members of the New York City Council, four New York City mayoral candidates, current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and notable names from the state’s congressional delegation such as Democrat Reps. Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn Maloney, and Kathleen Rice.
The New York Post reports that Cuomo is now also facing defections from within his own camp, as a “well-placed insider” revealed last week that “most people aren’t even coming into work, and [Cuomo’s] offices at the Capitol are empty.”
Cuomo’s ongoing troubles worsened last week when a seventh accuser came forward to accuse the governor of “verbal and metal abuse after hiring her because of her physical appearance,” as the New York Daily News reported, adding to prior allegations made by women who claim Cuomo subjected them to unwanted, inappropriate touching and harassment some of which, according to a report in the Albany Times-Union could potentially expose him to criminal prosecution.
Though it remains unclear why Biden is not among those calling for Cuomo’s resignation, but considering that he has also been the subject of similar harassment claims in the past – allegations the current vice president has said she believed — perhaps he feels a misguided sense of solidarity with the embattled governor.