New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday disputed a New York Times article that claimed the governor blamed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for election losses Democrats suffered this week.
The article, which was published online Thursday, cited an interview Cuomo gave to WAMC-FM public radio in Albany earlier in the day.
“They ran de Blasio’s picture all over the state,” the Times quoted Cuomo as saying in the interview, adding that Republicans’ message of New York City as a crime and homelessness hot spot “resonated more than it should have.”
In speaking to reporters Friday, Cuomo said the article was “a classic attempt to dramatize, but in the meantime, actually pervert facts.”
Cuomo told the radio station that it was still early in the vote-counting process and that Democrats should end up doing well in races for state Assembly and Senate. However, he noted that Connecticut Democrats wound up with a supermajority in their Legislature and New Jersey Democrats fared better, too.
Why was that the case? Cuomo credited the GOP’s message of painting New York Democrats as “anti-law and order,” which helped them win races downstate.
“It's untrue,” Cuomo said Friday. “What Democrats are saying is we object to racism and police abuse, and what happened to George Floyd. And we believe every American should be treated equally, but we believe in law and order.”
The governor did call out some NYPD members for a website that been discovered – and since taken down – where officers have reportedly posted numerous racially insensitive statements, including calling former President Barack Obama “a Muslim savage.” Other statements have targeted de Blasio’s biracial son and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, a Black woman.
He said the internal investigation needs to fire those who published hundreds of posts on the site over the years.
The mayor, though, has been a frequent target of Cuomo’s criticism, especially in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has criticized de Blasio for not utilizing city resources to enforce social distancing regulations, and he’s also contradicted statements de Blasio has made since the emergency started in March.
Cuomo’s not the only Democrat who has been critical of de Blasio. U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, called de Blasio “the worst mayor in the history of New York City” in a campaign ad. However, the freshman incumbent finds himself trailing state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis by about 37,000 votes in the unofficial count.
Malliotakis, who has claimed victory even as the race remains open, ran on a law-and-order platform, with massive support from New York City police unions.
When asked Thursday about Cuomo’s perceived criticism, de Blasio said he believes New York Democrats still did well and brushed aside the perceived criticism with sarcasm.
“Democrats continue to have a clear majority in the state Senate, huge majority in the state Assembly,” he said Thursday morning. “So, I think whatever the Republicans did, was pretty modest honestly. But you know … I think what I'll do going forward is just make sure I strongly endorse the Republican candidates and confuse matters going forward in New York state.”
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