Posted on: August 10, 2021 Posted by: Anna Lee Comments: 0

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 10, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden said Tuesday that he respects New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign but that “it’s so sad” because the governor did a “hell of a job” in office.

Biden’s comments came after Cuomo resigned on Tuesday, one week after a report by the New York state attorney general found that the three-term governor sexually harassed almost a dozen women in violation of federal and state law.

“He’s done a hell of a job — on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad,” Biden said when asked for his assessment of Cuomo’s time as New York governor.

A reporter then asked the president whether he could “really say” that Cuomo did a “hell of a job” given “he’s accused of sexually harassing women on the job.”

Biden responded, “Should he remain as governor is one question, and women should be believed when they make accusations that … on the face of them make sense and are investigated … and the judgment was made what they said was correct — that’s one thing.”

“The question was, ‘did he do a good job on infrastructure?’ That was the question. He did,” Biden said. 

On Cuomo’s resignation, the president said: “I respect the governor’s decision and I respect the decision he made.”

Last week after the AG’s report was released, Biden called on Cuomo to resign, saying he stood by a previous statement he made in March that the governor should resign if an investigation substantiated allegations of sexual harassment.

“If the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should [Cuomo] resign?” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked the president in March.

“Yes,” Biden said at the time. “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”

State attorney general Letitia James’s investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed eleven women, including nine current and former state employees.

“None of them welcomed it and all of them found it uncomfortable,” James told reporters last week.

She said that Cuomo and the Executive Chamber cultivated a “toxic” workplace that allowed “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.”

Ahead of his resignation on Tuesday, Cuomo said he takes “fully responsibility” for his actions, though he continued to defend himself, saying he had “never crossed the line with anyone.”

“I have slipped and called people ‘honey, ’sweetheart’ and ‘darling.’ I mean it to be endearing but women found it dated and offensive,” he said. “I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting.”

“In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” Cuomo added. “There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate and I should have — no excuses.”

He said that fighting back against the “politically motivated” attack on him would throw New York into 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,” the 63-year-old governor said.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will become the state’s first female governor.

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