If you’re waiting for members of President Joe Biden’s White House to condemn New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the heels of multiple women accusing him of sexual harassment, Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t appear to be interested.
According to the New York Post, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made clear in a recent briefing that while the vice president believes the women should be respected and heard, Harris has no plans of condemning Cuomo at this time, which has already drawn criticism online.
Harris’ refusal to condemn the governor comes after no less than three women — two of whom used to work in his office — have leveled multiple sexual harassment accusations against the New York governor.
What’s the deal?
Fox News reporter Kristin Fisher recently questioned Psaki on whether or not Harris would condemn Cuomo, as she did when former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) came under fire with similar allegations made against him, saying at the time that “sexual harassment should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere.”
Psaki seemingly danced around the question but told Fisher that Harris supports the current investigation into the matter by New York Attorney General Tish James, who took the reins on launching an investigation into the accusations made against the governor.
“There is an independent investigation that is happening now being overseen by the attorney general and she certainly supports that,” Psaki said.
“I think the vice president’s view is she believes a woman should be treated with respect. Their voices should be heard. They should tell their story,” she added.
Cuomo’s second accuser, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, sat down for a CBS interview this week and held nothing back as she spoke with host Norah O’Donnell about the terrifying details of her encounter with Cuomo, which she felt was far beyond appropriate workplace behavior.
O’Donnell asked Bennett what exactly it was that made her believe that Cuomo was attempting to coerce her to sleep with him at the time of the incident, which allegedly happened in a closed room in a one-on-one encounter.
“Without explicitly saying it, he — he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely,” Bennett said.
“I thought, he’s trying to sleep with me. The governor’s trying to sleep with me and I’m deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,” Bennett said, adding that she was terrified, especially given the fact that he was her boss.
Only time will tell whether or not Cuomo faces any consequences for what the three accusers claim he did or said to them, but Harris’ refusal to condemn Cuomo at this point could result in bad optics and political consequences down the road.