Biden speaks out on Cuomo's position in wake of mounting sexual misconduct allegations

Albany, New York – President Joe Biden affirmed late Tuesday that Governor Andrew Cuomo must resign if the sexual misconduct accusations against him are substantiated, breaking over a week of silence on the increasingly volatile issue.

President Biden responds to a question from the press about Andrew Cuomo.
President Biden responds to a question from the press about Andrew Cuomo.  © IMAGO / MediaPunch

Biden, who has maintained a cordial relationship with Cuomo for decades, dropped the bombshell in an interview on ABC News, in which he also said the embattled governor will likely face "criminal prosecution" if investigators stand up the misconduct claims.

"Yes," Biden replied when ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked if Cuomo should step down in the event that State Attorney General Letitia James' independent investigation confirms the allegations. "I think he'll probably end up being prosecuted, too."

Seven women, five of whom are former staffers, have come forward with allegations that Cuomo subjected them to sexual misconduct, including unwanted touching and inappropriate comments. In a particularly unsettling claim, one former Cuomo staffer, who has not been identified, says the governor groped her under her blouse at the Executive Mansion in Albany.

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Biden praised Cuomo's accusers for coming forward.

"Takes a lot of courage," he said. "So, the presumption is they should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated. And that's what’s underway now."

He added: "There could be a criminal prosecution that is attached to it. I just don't know."

A probe into the harassment claims is already underway

Governor Cuomo has denied the sexual harassment allegations against him.
Governor Cuomo has denied the sexual harassment allegations against him.  © IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency

James' investigation is led by former Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim and employment discrimination lawyer Anne Clark. They have interviewed at least one of Cuomo's accusers so far and obtained hundreds of pages of relevant records.

A spokesman for Cuomo did not return a request for comment after Biden's remarks, but the governor has vehemently denied ever inappropriately touching anyone. Nonetheless, Cuomo apologized earlier this month for "any pain I've caused" and admitted some of his comments over the years may have been interpreted as "unwanted flirtations."

Before the ABC News interview, Biden had avoided the Cuomo question for days as a long list of high-profile Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, called on the governor to step down in light of the allegations.

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Biden's qualified call for Cuomo's ouster adds significant pressure on the governor, who's already facing an impeachment investigation in Albany over the sexual misconduct claims.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / MediaPunch, IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency

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