Mar 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's conspicuous silence on the Cuomo scandal

Biden and Cuomo at a table.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Based on everything we know about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's psyche, it's impossible to imagine him resigning unless he knows he has no way out. The only Democratic figure who could plausibly persuade Cuomo to resign is President Biden.

The big picture: Unlike many of his other Democratic critics, Cuomo respects and likes Biden. The two men have had good relations — during the transition, there was even (far-fetched) talk that the governor would be considered as Biden's attorney general.

If Biden called for Cuomo to resign, it would mean infinitely more than Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's statement on Friday. Schumer and Cuomo have years of bad blood — and the governor would never take marching orders from the Senate majority leader.

  • A smart piece last year by the N.Y. Times' Alex Burns explains the long history between Biden and the Cuomos, father and son.
  • That helps explain why calling for Cuomo's resignation would be so uncomfortable for Biden.

Biden has sat it out — silent, even as pressure builds for him to speak out as more and more elected Democrats call for Cuomo to step down. Jonathan Swan reports that as of yesterday, Biden had not discussed the scandal with Cuomo.

  • On Friday, the White House reiterated support for the investigation by New York attorney general Tish James. But with constant new facts, there’s a continuing conversation about how to respond.

The bottom line: Biden's silence on Cuomo is increasingly conspicuous. As the harassment allegations accumulate, this position already seems unsustainable.

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