White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that President Joe Biden believes all sexual harassment allegations like the one against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should be reviewed and the accuser treated with respect.
“Well, let me first say that the President has been consistent in his position. When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect their voice should be heard not silenced,” said Psaki. “And any allegation should be reviewed.”
Lindsey Boylan, who is running for Manhattan borough president and formerly worked for Cuomo, accused him of sexual harassment, saying the governor kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker, in an account Wednesday.
On the same day, Cuomo press secretary Caitlin Girouard released a statement that reiterated the governor’s position. “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” Girouard said.
A reporter asked Psaki if the allegation would distract from Biden’s meeting Thursday with the National Governor Association to discuss the pandemic response, of which Cuomo is the head.
Psaki defended Biden’s past praise of Cuomo and his handling of the pandemic.
“Governor Cuomo is also the governor of one of the largest states in the country that has been one of the hardest hit, with millions of people still suffering from an ongoing pandemic and an economic crisis, and our focus is to continue working with governors from across the country from a range of states, and how we’re helping people in their states. He also is still head of the National Governors Association, hence he’s at the event today,” said Psaki.
A congresswoman from New York State, Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) issued a statement about the alleged sexual harassment against Cuomo, blasting the governor and calling for his resignation.
“I am publicly calling for an independent investigation into the serious allegations of pervasive workplace sexual harassment and verbal abuse by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The people of New York deserve a Governor who lives up to his own public statements on sexual harassment,” said Stefanik.
Democrat state lawmakers from New York are also concerned with the allegations made by Boylan and are echoing the White House comments calling for an investigation.
“I have read the reports,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, (D-Bronx) wrote in a statement. “These are serious allegations. Harassment in the workplace of any kind should not be tolerated.”
“All credible allegations of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and given a thorough, transparent, and independent investigation,” Sen. Liz Krueger, (D-Manhattan), said in a statement.