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Big dodge? Psaki declines to say whether Biden still views Cuomo as 'gold standard'

Biden previously described Cuomo as "sorta the gold standard" regarding the governor's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Published: February 21, 2021 3:54pm

Updated: February 21, 2021 8:11pm

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during an interview on ABC's This Week would not provide a direct answer about whether President Biden still considers New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the "gold standard" on dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Journalist Jonathan Karl posed the question after playing a clip of Biden last year stating that Cuomo has performed "one hell of a job" and describing the governor as "sorta the gold standard."

Cuomo, who has come under fire for his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic, has faced heightened scrutiny since his top aide Melissa DeRosa revealed the administration held back on answering questions from lawmakers due to concerns about a potential Justice Department investigation.

"Well John, we work with Governor Cuomo just like we work with governors across the country," Psaki said, noting that Cuomo chairs the National Governors Association and has "an important role in ensuring that we're coordinating closely in getting assistance out to people of his state and to states across the country."

She said that any matter of investigations would be in the hands of "the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward.

”But we are going to continue to work with a range of governors, including of course Governor Cuomo because we think the people of New York, the people of states across the country need assistance, not just to get through the pandemic, but to get through this difficult economic time."

When Karl pressed Psaki to provide a simple yes or no response the to question, she declined to do so.

"Well it doesn't always have to be a yes or no answer John. I think the president is focused on his goal, his objectives as president of the United States. He's gonna continue to work with Governor Cuomo just like he'll continue to work with governors across the country. And I'm not here to give new labels or names from the president," but to "communicate with you about what our focuses are and what his objectives are as president," she said.


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