The White House dismissed a sexual assault allegation against President Joe Biden as “heavily litigated during the campaign” when asked if he should face the same kind of sexual harassment investigation as embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
At Wednesday’s White House briefing, reporters asked press secretary Jen Psaki whether the assault accusation leveled by former Biden Senate aide Tara Reade and complaints of inappropriate touching and behavior, such as allegedly skinny dipping in front of female Secret Service agents, would merit an “independent investigation.”
“I would say the president has been clear and outspoken about the importance of women being respected and having their voices heard and being allowed to tell their stories and people treating them with respect,” Psaki replied. “That has long been his policy, continues to be his policy.”
Regarding allegations against Biden himself, Psaki said, “That was heavily litigated during the campaign, I understand you are eager to come back to it, but I don’t have anything further than to repeat that he has called for the governor to resign.
Biden said on Tuesday that Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, should step down after an investigation by New York’s Democratic state attorney general concluded that the governor had sexually harassed women, in violation of state and federal law. Biden suggested Cuomo might ultimately be prosecuted.
Most top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York’s junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on Cuomo to resign. The Democratic-controlled state Assembly is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
Cuomo has denied the charges, saying he is a friendly person who likes hugging and kissing, and has so far refused to resign. He is up for reelection next year and it remains unclear whether he plans to seek a fourth term. His father Mario Cuomo was also a three-term governor of New York and a liberal icon.
Biden has faced complaints over the years that he is too physical and familiar with women, though the Reade allegation is the first charge of serious sexual misconduct against him.
Biden served two terms as vice president and 36 years representing Delaware in the Senate before becoming president earlier this year. He raised former President Donald Trump’s treatment of women as an issue in the campaign.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: W. James Antle III