On Day 32, the White House had no comment on whether Biden still believes New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo still represents “the gold standard” for his handling of the pandemic.
Still The Gold Standard?
During an April 2020 appearance with Jimmy Fallon from his basement in Delaware, Joe Biden called Andrew Cuomo “the gold standard” for management of the pandemic.
On Sunday, ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl asked press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday whether that evaluation still stands in light of Cuomo’s alleged concealing of data and misdirection of state legislators.
No surprise: Psaki dodged the question, saying the Biden works with Cuomo “just like we work with governors across the country.”
“It doesn’t always have to be a yes or no answer,” Psaki reiterated when pressed. “I think the president is focused on his goal, his objective as president of the United States.”
Engaging Iran on Hostages.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced that the White House has begun communicating with Iran about the return of American hostages, and that Iran has not yet engaged U.S. offers to renew discussions of Iran’s nuclear development program.
Iran did respond Sunday, however, that the U.S. cannot rejoin the nuclear deal until it lifts economic sanctions.
Iran represents a major test for Biden, while personnel changes throughout his federal agencies suggest that China, COVID-19, and climate change are bigger priorities than tackling issues regarding the Middle East.
On Monday morning, the Washington Times reported that while President Donald Trump’s efforts to open a backchannel with Iran hit a dead end in 2019, relationships were thriving between Mohammad Javad Zarif and former Obama officials, including former secretary of state and current climate czar John Kerry, and Robert Malley, former Middle East advisor to President Barack Obama and current special envoy for Iran policy at the State Department. Trump, in 2019, accused Kerry of violating the Logan Act with these communications.
You’ve Got The Go-Ahead!
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has assured Joe Biden that a visit to Texas would be neither a distraction nor a burden. Biden cited these concerns as his reason for not having traveled to Texas yet, but with this reassurance, the president will surely soon find an appropriate time.