Struggleboating: Psaki Treads Water After ABC’s Karl Asks About Andrew Cuomo

Along with struggling to answer basic questions during White House press briefings, Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself paddling the struggle boat on Sunday with ABC’s This Week as chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl inquired about then-candidate Joe Biden’s affection for scandal-ridden Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).

Karl led off by asking about coronavirus vaccine distribution, school reopenings, and the winter weather disaster in Texas before ending with “another controversy that raged this week” with Cuomo continually “under fire for allegedly not being transparent and misleading on his — on his — on the number of nursing home deaths in New York.”

After playing a clip of Biden gushing over Cuomo in April 2020 as having done “one hell of a job” whose set “the gold standard,” Karl wondered:

So, now, we’ve seen that Governor Cuomo has allegedly undercounted nursing home deaths, misled legislators in New York and he called the New York assemblyman — I mean, Ron Kim, raising questions — you know, basically threatening to destroy him, I think was his actual words. So, does President Biden still consider Andrew Cuomo the gold standard when it comes to leadership on the pandemic?

Psaki decided not to thread the needle in distancing the Biden administration from the sinking ship in Albany. Instead, she reiterated the White House’s plans to remain aboard the U.S.S. Cuomo and their treatment of New York seniors because “we work with governors across the country” and Cuomo in particular as he helms the National Governors Association.

She continued dithering:

[T]here are, of course, will be a process. There are investigations. We’ll leave that to others to determine — the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward, but we’re going to continue to work with a range of governors including, of course, Governor Cuomo because we think the people…need assistance not just to get through the pandemic but to get through this difficult economic time, and that’s where our focus remains.

Often when we see a liberal outlet asks a fellow lefty a tough question, it’s merely a one-off and, regardless of the person’s answer, the interview either shifts to another topic or ends with time having run out.

Fortunately, Karl didn’t do that and instead followed-up on Psaki’s non-answer, pointing out his question was a “yes or no” about whether “Biden still believe[s] that Andrew Cuomo is the gold standard — represents the gold standard on leadership during this pandemic.”

Psaki continued to duck, refusing to have the administration disrupt last year’s narrative about the “Luv Guv” perpetuated by Democrats, the Hollywood elites. and the liberal media:

Well, Jon, the President — the President — well, it doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer, Jon. I think the President is focused on his goals, his objectives as President of the United States. He’s going to 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. I’m here to communicate with you about what our focuses are and what his objectives are as President.

To see the relevant ABC transcript from February 21, click “expand.”

ABC’s This Week
February 21, 2021
9:12 a.m. Eastern

JONATHAN KARL: Okay, I want to turn to another controversy that raged this week. Andrew Cuomo under fire for allegedly not being transparent and misleading on his — on his — on the number of nursing home deaths in New York. Last spring, President Biden cited Andrew Cuomo as the gold standard for leadership during the pandemic. Take a listen.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN [in April 2020]: Your governor of New York has done one hell of a job. I think he’s sort of the gold standard.

KARL: So, now, we’ve seen that Governor Cuomo has allegedly undercounted nursing home deaths, misled legislators in New York and he called the New York assemblyman — I mean, Ron Kim, raising questions — you know, basically threatening to destroy him, I think was his actual words. So, does President Biden still consider Andrew Cuomo the gold standard when it comes to leadership on the pandemic?

PSAKI: Well, Jon, we work with Governor Cuomo, just like we work with governors across the country. He’s also chair of the NGA. So, he plays an important role in insuring that we’re coordinating closely and getting assistance out to people of his state and to states across the country. And we’ll continue to do that. And there are, of course, will be a process. There are investigations. We’ll leave that to others to determine — the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward, but we’re 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, and that’s where our focus remains.

KARL: All right. But, Jen, my question was, does President Biden still believe that Andrew Cuomo is the gold standard — represents the gold standard on leadership during this pandemic? Just a yes or no.

PSAKI: Well, Jon, the President — 

KARL: Does he still consider him a gold standard?

PSAKI: — the President — well, it doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer, Jon. I think the President is focused on his goals, his objectives as President of the United States. He’s going to 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. I’m here to communicate with you about what our focuses are and what his objectives are as President.

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