Biden’s ‘deep personal friendship’ with Gov. Cuomo scrutinized

In a bombshell report, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was found Tuesday to have committed multiple acts of sexual harassment and misconduct, prompting President Joe Biden to call on the governor to resign from office, USA Today reported.

That is starkly different from how Biden spoke of Gov. Cuomo just a few years ago when he spoke of his “deep personal friendship” with the governor, adding that Cuomo was someone he respected on par with his beloved, deceased son Beau Biden. 

Biden’s “deep” friendship

A brief compilation video of some of those remarks was posted to social media shortly after the politically devastating report on Cuomo was publicly released. In the video, which appeared to be from a 2018 event in support of Gov. Cuomo and New York Democrats, Biden said, “I admit, I have deep personal friendship with Andrew and Chris,” noting his relationship with the governor and his CNN host younger brother, as well as their mother.

Biden also said, “Whenever I see Andrew, I think of my son Beau,” and at another point added of the governor’s famed father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, “Mario Cuomo was the only person I have ever been engaged with politically I thought was better than me, and I mean that sincerely.”

Damning results of investigation

One can only wonder if Biden will continue to stand by those prior statements about Cuomo in light of the findings of the independent investigative team that worked out of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office to probe the multiple allegations of sexual harassment against the governor.

The executive summary of the 168-page report declared that Cuomo “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment” under federal and state law and that he “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

“We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture — one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments — contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist,” the report stated. “That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”

“I would recommend he resign”

Tuesday afternoon, following a speech on COVID-19 and vaccines, Biden was asked about the Cuomo report and whether he still stood by comments he’d made in March to the effect that the governor should resign if the allegations against him were confirmed to be true, which Biden reaffirmed and said that, “Yes,” Cuomo should resign.

Biden was also asked about a video Cuomo had shared in his own defense that featured the governor kissing and hugging all sorts of people — similar videos have been made of Biden — but the president declined to nitpick and instead said, “I’m sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent, but app- — apparently, the Attorney General decided there were things that weren’t.”

Later, asked if Cuomo should be prosecuted and if he had a message for Cuomo’s now-vindicated accusers, Biden replied, “Look, what I said was: If the investigation of the Attorney General concluded that the allegations were correct, that — back in March — that I would recommend he resign. That’s what I’m doing today. I’ve not read the report. I don’t know the detail of it. All I know is the end result.”

USA Today noted that Cuomo has remained defiant even in the face of the evidence compiled in the lengthy report and continues to refuse to resign, despite calls to do so from countless fellow Democrats, both in New York as well as the White House.

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