Joe Biden brought a sexual assault allegation that plagued his presidential campaign back into the spotlight this week by calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign for allegedly harassing women — but the president doesn’t see any parallels between himself and the embattled governor.
The White House dismissed claims against Biden as having been “heavily litigated” one day after Biden pressed Cuomo to step down, the Washington Examiner reported.
Biden’s campaign launch in 2019 was clouded by claims from several women who said he touched them inappropriately. Biden apologized, but he later denied claims from a former staffer, Tara Reade, who alleged he sexually assaulted her decades ago.
“Clear and outspoken”
At a press briefing Wednesday, Biden’s loyal press secretary deflected when the New York Post‘s Steve Nelson asked if Biden would support an “independent investigation” of the claims. Psaki accused Nelson of being “eager” to revisit them and said they were “heavily litigated during the campaign.”
“I understand you are eager to come back to it, but I don’t have anything further than to repeat that he has called for the governor to resign,” she said, according to the Examiner.
Psaki maintained that there is no discrepancy between Biden’s position on the Cuomo scandal and Biden’s own.
“I would say the president has been clear and outspoken about the importance of women being respected and having their voices heard and being allowed to tell their stories and people treating them with respect,” she said. “That has long been his policy, continues to be his policy.”
An embattled governor
Biden has joined other high-profile Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in calling on Cuomo to step down after a probe found that the governor violated state and federal laws by harassing 11 women, reports noted.
While speculation mounts over Cuomo’s fate, the Democrat is facing an impeachment inquiry and potential criminal prosecution. Few expect the thuggish governor to resign willingly.
Psaki, for her part, refused to say if Biden would push for the governor to be impeached.
“The president made clear yesterday that Gov. Cuomo should resign. And I believe we should start with that,” she said, according to the New York Post.
In his defense, Cuomo has said that friendly behavior is being misconstrued as sexual, even citing Biden’s notoriously “warm” — some say creepy — habits.