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21 Feb, 2021 21:49

Biden’s press secretary ripped for sidestepping questions on Cuomo nursing home scandal – says WH to ‘continue’ working with him

Biden’s press secretary ripped for sidestepping questions on Cuomo nursing home scandal – says WH to ‘continue’ working with him

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been accused by critics of blatantly dodging questions about NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversies, including a probe into whether nursing home deaths from Covid-19 were underreported.

On top of accusations that the New York governor underreported nursing home deaths for political purposes, he has also been accused by a state lawmaker of threatening to “destroy” him if he did not release a public statement supporting the governor. Recent months have also seen a sexual harassment allegation emerge. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing in all of these cases. 

Before numerous controversies were seemingly poisoning Cuomo’s public image, however, President Joe Biden counted himself among the governor’s many fans, even calling him the “gold standard” for leadership during the pandemic. 

Psaki was on Sunday asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl to revisit this statement in light of the investigation and other news about Cuomo, but it quickly became clear she wasn’t going to address the issues.

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“We work with Governor Cuomo just like we work with governors across the country,” Psaki said.

Cuomo, she added, “plays an important role in ensuring that we’re coordinating closely in getting assistance out to people in his state and to states across the country as the chair of the National Governors Association.” The White House, she said, will “continue” working with Cuomo and leave the investigation up to the proper authorities.

Asked for a “yes or no” on whether the president still views Cuomo as the “gold standard,” Psaki refused to give a straight answer.

“It doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer, Jon,” she said, adding that she was “not here to give new labels or names from the president.”

“I’m here to communicate with you about what our focuses are and what his objectives are as president,” she snapped, ending the Cuomo talk.

Psaki’s sidestepping has ruffled the feathers of numerous Cuomo critics, including Fox News’ Janice Dean, whose in-laws died from Covid-19 early in the pandemic in New York nursing homes. Dean has since been a vocal opponent of Cuomo, often highlighting his early order that nursing homes should be forced to accept Covid-19 as leading to thousands of elderly deaths.

“Shame. On. Her,” Dean tweeted about Psaki.

“Shameful,” The View co-host Meghan McCain echoed in her own tweet.

During a White House press briefing earlier this month, Psaki refused to directly comment on the Cuomo investigation. The New York governor was one of many to visit Biden to discuss strategies for combating Covid-19 and getting people vaccinated.

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