Biden says Cuomo has done a 'hell of a job' as governor on infrastructure, voting rights

President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE on Tuesday said New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoBatya Ungar-Sargon discusses Cuomo brothers' delayed downfall Cuomo quits radio show to 'focus on what comes next' Cuomo's firing from CNN came amid allegation of sexual misconduct: report MORE (D) has done a “hell of a job” on issues like infrastructure and voting rights, while voicing support for the governor’s decision to resign after a state investigation found that he sexually harassed 11 women.

“I thought he’s done a hell of a job, both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things,” Biden told reporters when asked about Cuomo’s 10-year tenure as governor, distinguishing between Cuomo’s personal behavior and his policy actions. “That’s why it’s so sad.”

Questioned later about his assessment of Cuomo's time in office, Biden said he was commenting on the governor’s leadership on issues like infrastructure and not on the sexual harassment allegations. Biden said women who make such accusations should be believed when their allegations are backed up by investigations.

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Biden, who called on Cuomo to resign last week after the findings of the investigation were released, also said he respected the governor’s decision to leave office.

“I respect the governor’s decision and I respect the decision he made,” Biden said when asked for a reaction to the governor’s resignation announcement.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House press briefing The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden discusses Ukraine with Putin China: US will 'pay the price' for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Games MORE Psaki later tweeted that Biden was responding "to a specific question" about Cuomo's work on infrastructure and that he "reiterated his support for women who come forward, and made clear you can’t separate personal behavior from other work."

Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden has not spoken to Cuomo since New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released the findings of her months-long investigation. The probe found that Cuomo harassed 11 women, including some who worked in the governor’s office, and that he violated state and federal laws.

Cuomo appeared defiant during a press conference Tuesday morning and denied any wrongdoing, but he said he would step down to allow the state government to function properly. He was facing an impeachment hearing in the state Assembly that was likely to result in impeachment articles.

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"This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation. Government really needs to function today. Government needs to perform. It is a matter of life and death, government operations. And wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. And I cannot be the cause of that," Cuomo said.

"I think given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore that’s what I’ll do," he continued.

Cuomo said his resignation will be effective in 14 days. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will take over from Cuomo once he steps down, making her the first female governor of New York.

The White House did not have advance notice of the governor’s decision to resign, Psaki said Tuesday.

She added that Biden has not yet spoken to Hochul but that the White House looks forward to working with her on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

“We look forward to working with her and with a range of New York officials and continuing to deliver relief to the people of New York as we work to fight the pandemic, put people back to work and show people that government can work for them,” Psaki said.

--Updated at 4:46 p.m.