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Local News

Cuomo Slams Trump After His Threat to Defund a Collection of Cities, Including NYC

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Cuomo Slams Trump After His Threat to Defund a Collection of Cities, Including NYC

2020-09-04 17:56:01

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Andrew Cuomo (Image source: Screenshot)

To say there is no love lost between Donald Trump and Andrew Cuomo is an understatement, and their differences while leading the country and the state of New York through the coronavirus pandemic have only made this worse. The president's comments on New York City have now only heightened the feud.

"He can't have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City," issued the New York governor during a conference call this week. "Forget bodyguards. He better have an army if he thinks he's going to walk down the streets in New York."

This statement followed Trump's announcement that he was going to drop federal funding for several cities his administration deemed "anarchist jurisdictions." New York City was singled out specifically. Cuomo said Trump was "persona non grata" there.

"From the point of view of New York City, [Trump] has been the worst president," said Cuomo. "President Ford said drop dead. President Trump has been actively trying to kill New York City ever since he was elected."

While some were questioning Cuomo's most direct and harshest criticism aimed at the president so far, a senior adviser clarified later that Trump would not literally need protection to be on the streets of Manhattan. It was simply meant to show that he had abandoned New York.

It shows how much Trump's relationship with his hometown has crumbled since he became president. He had already said he was "treated very badly" by New York politicians when he moved to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year.

This is after growing up in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, then following his father into becoming a real estate developer in the city. His reality TV show "The Apprentice" was filmed there as well. After he became president and moved to the White House, it was known Melania Trump didn't want to leave New York with their son Barron and stayed behind, yet now they are all in the White House.

Trump is trying to push his "law and order" campaign on cities where racial unrest has prevailed since George Floyd died at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer at the end of May. Many see it as nothing more than campaign strategy.

But this week he has intensified his comments about New York and other cities. He now wants to reduce federal funding from "anarchist jurisdictions."

The memo from the White House instructed the Justice Department to call out cities that have allowed "themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones." Particularly, he's calling out jurisdictions that want to "defund the police." In particular, Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Washington D.C. were called out along with New York City.

Cuomo wasn't the only Democratic leader to fire back at Trump. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the document was "an attempt to distract" from the pandemic. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called it "a new low, even for the president," and a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was a "racist campaign stunt."

But Cuomo took it further. He said Trump had been "dismissed as a clown" by New York and is now acting like he wants to be king. "The best thing he did for New York City was leave," added Cuomo.

Perhaps adding to Trump's feelings about his hometown is that nearly 80 percent of the city voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The White House memo attacked the city for its recent rise in crime and claimed state and local officials are allowing looting to happen, while also mentioning a rise in shootings. The New York City Council has dropped $1 billion from the police budget and rejected the White House's offer for help.

Cuomo didn't mention that in his takedown of Trump, concentrating instead on Trump and the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier that day Trump had demanded that CNN fire Chris Cuomo, the governor's younger brother. This was after Fox News's Tucker Carlson had suggested that Chris Cuomo, who is still struggling with the after-effects of COVID-19, had once been accused of sexual harassment.

Andrew Cuomo didn't touch on that and instead brought up Trump's sibling Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge, and her comments about her brother.

"Those that know him best like him least. That's true about New York City, that's true about his own family," said Cuomo. "His sister, a former federal judge, is disgraced by him. What does that say about a person?" 

The next move in this battle is Trump's.

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