Biden says he ‘respects’ Cuomo’s decision to resign as New York governor
President Joe Biden spoke out about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign amid a sexual harassment scandal. Cuomo’s resignation is effective in two weeks.
"I respect the Governor’s decision, and I respect the decision he made," he told reporters during a press conferenceTuesday afternoon.
One reporter asked him to assess what Cuomo has done as a governor during his stint for the past 10 years.
"He’s done a hell of a job both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure," Biden continued. "That’s why it’s so sad."
RELATED: Andrew Cuomo to resign as New York's governor
Biden had called on Cuomo to resign earlier this month.
After delivering remarks about the pandemic nearly a week ago, Biden answered a question from a reporter about whether he believes Cuomo should resign. "Yes," Biden said.
"I think he should resign," the president told reporters. "I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don't know that for a fact, I haven't read all that data."
Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did praise who she called the "courageous women" whose complaints led to the governor stepping down.
"Our view is that this is a story about these courageous women who came forward," Psaki said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of Congress from the Buffalo area, will become the state’s 57th governor and the first woman to hold the post.
Paski said Biden has not yet spoken to Hochul.
"We look forward to working with her and with a range of New York officials in 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 the government can work with them," Psaki said.
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Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations in a fall from grace a year after he was widely hailed nationally for his detailed daily briefings and leadership during some of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a televised address, the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied intentionally showing any disrespect toward women but said that fighting back against what he called the "politically motivated" attack on him would subject the state to months of turmoil, and "I cannot be the cause of that."
"The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government," Cuomo said.
The three-term Democratic governor’s decision was announced as momentum built in the Legislature to remove him by impeachment. It came after New York’s attorney general released the results of an investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.
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Investigators said he subjected women to unwanted kisses; groped their breasts or buttocks or otherwise touched them inappropriately; made insinuating remarks about their looks and their sex lives; and created a work environment "rife with fear and intimidation."
His accusers included an aide who said Cuomo groped her breast at the governor’s mansion. Investigators also said the governor’s staff retaliated against one of his accusers by leaking confidential personnel files about her.
Cuomo called some of the allegations fabricated, forcefully denying he touched anyone inappropriately. But he acknowledged making some aides uncomfortable with comments he said he intended as playful, and he apologized for some of his behavior.
Cuomo still faces the possibility of criminal charges, with a number of prosecutors around the state moving to investigate him.
RELATED: Ex-aide to Cuomo details her groping allegations; 'not normal, not consensual'
As a defiant Cuomo earlier clung to office, state lawmakers launched an impeachment investigation, and nearly the entire Democratic establishment in New York deserted him — not only over the accusations but also because of the discovery that his administration had concealed thousands of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home patients.
During his resignation speech, he directly addressed his daughters, saying: "I want them to know, from the bottom of my heart: I never did, and I never would, intentionally disrespect a woman or treat a woman differently than I would want them treated. Your dad made mistakes. And he apologized. And he learned from it. And that’s what life is all about."
FOX 5 NY and The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.