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White House says it has no plans to strip Cuomo of weekly COVID-19 call

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The White House is standing behind New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at least in his role of leading weekly COVID-19 calls.

Speaking before reporters on Monday, the White House said it currently has no plans to remove the New York Democrat from leading the weekly COVID-19 calls, saying the decision rests in the hands of the National Governors Association.

“It would be up to the NGA to determine if they were to make a change on that front. It’s also up to the legislature and others in New York to determine if he still has the confidence of the people in the state,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Psaki said the Cuomo-led group was put in charge of the calls to break from the approach of the Trump administration. Former Vice President Mike Pence previously led the calls.

“One of the reasons that it’s been set up to engage directly with governors is that there were operational aspects of the way the last administration approached COVID and approached … the distribution of vaccines or approached planning and engagement with governors that wasn’t working,” Psaki said. “They didn’t feel they had the information they needed, they didn’t know when they were getting vaccine supply. And our effort was to work much more directly in a range of means and a range of ways up and down the ranks in these states to ensure that we were addressing the local needs as they came up, so I’m not aware of any plan to shift that approach.”

Gov. Cuomo is facing allegations of sexual harassment, as well as reports his administration withheld critical information regarding COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

“We were concerned, of course, about the reports of this inappropriate behavior, but we also have a number of steps that are already in the system to ensure that the people of New York, the people of any state, are getting — the vaccines are distributed distributed fairly and equitably,” Psaki said.

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