Biden says Cuomo should resign if probe confirms sexual harassment claims against New York governor


President Joe Biden gestures during remarks on the implementation of the American Rescue Plan in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 15, 2021.

Eric Baradat | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden said in a new interview that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if an investigation confirms allegations by multiple women that Cuomo sexually harassed them.

And if those claims are confirmed, Biden said, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”

“There should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in the interview conducted Tuesday in Darby, Pennsylvania.

“That’s what’s going on now.”

“There could be a criminal prosecution that is attached to it. I just don’t know,” Biden said.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing a probe of the claims that is being conducted by a team of attorneys in private practice.

On Monday, investigators spoke for four hours to former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, who said the 63-year-old governor was looking for a sexual relationship last year when he asked about her love life, and whether she had been with an older man. Investigators are also examining claims by six other women.

Cuomo, like Biden, is a Democrat.

“I want to ask you about Gov. Cuomo of New York,” Stephanopoulos said. “I know you said you want the investigation to continue. If the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should he resign?”

 Biden replied, “Yes.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo touches his nose during a visit to a new Covid-19 vaccination site, Monday, March 15, 2021, at the State University of New York in Old Westbury.

Mark Lennihan | AFP | Getty Images

The three-term governor has denied behaving inappropriately toward women, and repeatedly refused to resign.

A majority of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, and more than 55 Democrats in the state legislature, have demanded that Cuomo resign amid the allegations.

The state’s U.S. senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, last week became the most prominent Democrats to call on Cuomo to step down.

“Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, the majority of the congressional delegation don’t think he can be an effective governor right now,” Stephanopoulos asked Biden. “Can he serve effectively?”

Biden responded, “Well, that’s a judgment for them to make.”

The president also said in the interview that “a woman should be presumed telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward.”

“Takes a lot of courage to come forward,” Biden said. “So, the presumption is they should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated. And that’s what’s underway now.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who is a Democrat, last week authorized that chamber’s Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment investigation of Cuomo.

That move reportedly was seen as a stalling tactic by some members of the Democratic caucus, but endorsed by other members who want to give James times to finish her office’s investigation.

The New York Times on Tuesday published a report detailing an effort by current Cuomo aides to get former staff members to sign an open letter attacking the credibility of ex-aide Lindsey Boylan after she accused the governor of sexual harassment in Twitter posts in December. That letter was never publicly released.

Boylan, in a Medium post last month, detailed her claims against Cuomo, saying he once kissed her without her consent, and jokingly suggested playing strip poker on an official flight.

Boylan’s article was soon followed by Bennett’s public allegations, and by other women detailing inappropriate physical contact and comments by Cuomo. The governor is also facing accusations that he created a culture of bullying and fear in his office.

A claim by one current Cuomo staffer, who reportedly said the governor aggressively groped her in his official residence after summoning her there, was referred last week to police in Albany, New York.

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