Andrew Cuomo

Trump Versus Cuomo Turns To Twitter

From the Morning Memo:

The tweet from President Donald Trump came at around 10 p.m. Wednesday night, hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo ridiculed the “Make America Great” slogan by suggesting America “was never that great.”

“Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

It was followed up about 20 minutes later with a tweet from Cuomo.

“What you say would be ‘great again’ would not be great at all…We will not go back to discrimination, segregation, sexism, isolationism, racism or the KKK,” Cuomo’s account posted.

“Like NY’s motto says: Excelsior — Ever Upward (not backward)”

The firestorm was a coda to an unusual day in which Cuomo also walked back the initial statement, made at a bill signing ceremony in New York City. There, Cuomo riffed extensively about Trump and his statements about women, including Rep. Maxine Waters, Omarosa Manigault Newman and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The fateful line about America was wrapped up in a call for ending discrimination against women.

And now it’s escalated into a very public feud with Trump after Cuomo has for the last several months escalated his criticism of the president.

Cuomo has wanted to be seen as taking on Trump and his policies in New York: His campaign ads ahead of the Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Cynthia Nixon frequently mention he’s doing just that.

But this firestorm is probably one Cuomo would have wanted to avoid even as he’s trying to stoke a fight with a president who is deeply unpopular with Democrats in New York; a line that just didn’t land the way it intended.

“I think this is just another example of Andrew Cuomo trying to figure out what a progressive sounds like and missing by a mile,” Nixon said.

Republicans down ballot meanwhile have also sought to turn the remark against their Democratic opponents.

Rep. Claudia Tenney in a statement called on Democrat Anthony Brindisi to condemn the statement.

“While Brindisi stands by silently as his mentor mocks our great country, Claudia Tenney is proud of the brave men and women who serve our country, the entrepreneurs, small business owners and farmers, and the tireless work ethic, generosity and faith of the American people that has made our country the greatest nation the world has ever known,” Tenney’s campaign manager Raychel Renna said.

Brindisi’s campaign has also tied Tenney to a Republican with problems of his own, Rep. Chris Collins, who faces insider trading charges and is not seeking re-election. Brindisi’s campaign has called on Tenney to return donations from Collins.

As to Cuomo’s statement, Brindisi said: “The governor is wrong, America is great.”

Cuomo’s Office Clarifies: ‘America is Great’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Wednesday clarified his statement about America being great, walking back his remarks earlier in the day.

Cuomo speaking this afternoon in New York City criticized President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, saying, “It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

Less than three hours later, Cuomo’s office walked it back. In a statement, the Cuomo administration said the governor believes America can still reach “maximum greatness” when progressive changes are made.

“Governor Cuomo disagrees with the President. The Governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality,” said spokeswoman Dani Lever. “America has not yet reached its maximum potential.

“When the President speaks about making America great again – going back in time – he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions. The Governor believes that when everyone is fully included and everyone is contributing to their maximum potential, that is when America will achieve maximum greatness.”

The comment drew immediate rebukes from Republicans, including the state committee in New York as well as presumptive nominee for governor Marc Molinaro, who called on Cuomo to apologize.

Cuomo has increasingly criticized Trump’s policies over the last several months ahead of his primary on Sept. 13, facing Cynthia Nixon.

Making Things ‘Great Again’

In the 1984 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, Gov. Mario Cuomo was launched to the political stratosphere with rhetoric like this:

“And that they were able to build a family and live in dignity and see one of their children go from behind their little grocery store in South Jamaica on the other side of the tracks where he was born, to occupy the highest seat, in the greatest State, in the greatest nation, in the only world we would know, is an ineffably beautiful tribute to the democratic process.”

Eight years ago, Andrew Cuomo launched his bid to become governor of a state mired in multi-billion-dollar budget gaps, corruption, ineffective leadership and chronically late budgets.

In an announcement video unveiling his second and ultimately successful run for governor, Cuomo said, “I’m Andrew Cuomo, and I work for you. Together, we can make New York great again. Let’s get to work.”

During the 2016 election, Cuomo as governor distributed hats to convention delegates riffing on Donald Trump’s campaign slogan: “Make America Greater Than Ever Before.”

Cuomo on Wednesday raised eyebrows when he riffed on President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” but declaring the country was “never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

Republicans pounced on the remark, with the state GOP committee calling it “offensive” and called on Cuomo’s fellow Democrats to condemn.

The party’s presumptive nominee for governor, Marc Molinaro, said in a statement that America has always been great, despite its imperfections.

“Our people, our principles, and our promises have been a beacon light to the world for 242 years and counting,” he said. “This governor is so determined to distract voters from his failed policies and corrupted administration that he’s willing to dismiss the steady, determined march of the American people, making and remaking the greatness of America. Mr. Cuomo owes the nation an apology. He should be ashamed of himself.”

Don’t count on a walk back anytime soon.

This did not appear to be a classic Cuomo “gaffe” in the tradition of Pataki having “held the leader’s coat” on 9/11 or “disservice to women.” This appeared in part to be a purposeful comment in the context of the president’s own slogan, which Cuomo throughout the speech derided as disingenuous.

His staff has gone further on Twitter, calling it a “dog whistle.”

Cuomo today was speaking in the context of women’s rights, signing a bill that is meant to crack down on human trafficking.

“We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent of our population — is gone and everyone woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution. When that happens this nation is going to be taken even higher, because we have not yet fully liberated the women in this country,” he said. “And we will and New York will lead the way and watch New York raise.”

The extended knock on MAGA by Cuomo was relatively new to his public comments criticizing Trump, coming after the president this week in Utica mocked the governor at a fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney.

For now, Cuomo is yet to get a Trump barb on Twitter. If Cuomo’s remarks today are picked up by Fox News during the prime time hour, that could change.

And getting one of those tweets, with Cuomo embroiled in a Democratic primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, couldn’t hurt.

Cuomo Derides Trump’s ‘MAGA’ Slogan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened a new line of attack against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, ridiculing his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan and knocking the president for his derisive treatment to women.

“We’re not going to make America great again,” Cuomo said at a bill signing ceremony in New York City. “It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

Cuomo has blasted the president’s policies for the last several months, ratcheting up the rhetoric against the administration when it comes to immigration, taxes and gun control.

On Monday at a fundraising for Rep. Claudia Tenney in Utica, Trump mused about a Cuomo challenge in the 2020 presidential race while blasting the state’s high taxes and ban on hydrofracking.

Cuomo on Wednesday signed a bill aimed at cracking down on human trafficking. But, as he has done at other government events this summer, the event appeared to double as a veritable campaign rally. Cuomo returned to the Trump 2016 campaign slogan several times in the speech.

“He has it on his hat,” Cuomo said. “‘Make America great again.’ What does that mean? The whole concept is retrospective. What do you want to go back to, Mr. President?”

Trump is anti-woman, Cuomo said, pointing to the insults the president has used to describe former advisor Omarosa Manigault (“a dog”), Hillary Clinton (“crooked Hillary”) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (“pocahontas”).

Cuomo defended Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who Trump has repeatedly called a “low IQ” person, saying she is a “great spokesperson.”

“It’s actually helpful to define the enemy and know what we’re fighting,” Cuomo said. “That’s what we’re fighting, an attitude that disrespects women, the disrespects immigration.”

And Cuomo returned to Trump’s remarks last year after white supremacists and white nationalists violently clashed with protesters in Virginia.

“No, Mr. President, there are no good white supremacists,” Cuomo said. “That does not happen. But when you say that as president, you send a signal that that kind of behavior is OK, is tolerable.”

Cuomo is seeking a third term this year and faces Cynthia Nixon in a Democratic primary on Sept. 13.

Cuomo Forms A PAC For To Aid Congressional Challengers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has formed a political action committee meant to aid Democrats in New York running in key congressional races.

The announcement, made by his re-election campaign on Tuesday, comes after Cuomo had declared earlier this year he would push for a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives this year.

The committee, known as the Cuomo NY Take Back the House PAC, also comes after months of sniping between Cuomo and House Republicans in New York over measures like the December tax cut package that capped state and local tax deductions at $10,000 — a provision seen as detrimental to high-tax states.

It also comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor’s rival, formed his own federal-level PAC.

“With Trump and Republicans in Washington threatening New York’s way of life – from healthcare and women’s rights to immigration and tax reform – the Governor is laser focused on taking back the U.S. House to protect the people of this state. As part of the Governor’s larger effort to fight back against the Republicans’ destructive, ultra-conservative agenda, he has launched the ‘Cuomo NY Take Back the House PAC’ to contribute to races across New York and nationwide in an effort to flip the House from red to blue,” Maggie Moran, Cuomo’s campaign manager.

So far, Cuomo has maxed to House Democratic candidates through the PAC, with $2,700 going toward the campaigns of Perry Gershon, Liuba Grechen Shirley, Max Rose, Antonio Delgado, Tedra Cobb, Anthony Brindisi, Tracy Mitrano, Dana Balter, Joe Morelle and Nate McMurray.

Cuomo Responds To Trump

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday responded to criticism from President Donald Trump at a fundraiser in Utica this week for Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.

Trump mused at the reception about whether Cuomo would run against him in 2020 and claimed the governor had given told him he would not.

He then knocked Cuomo for the state’s high taxes, gun control and the ban on hydrofracking.

Cuomo in Seneca County to survey flood damage insisted he was focused on his job as governor.

“If I were president of the United States, I would not be rolling back a woman’s right to choose, I would not be ripping babies out of the arms of their mothers,” Cuomo said, adding, “I wouldn’t be afraid of the NRA and bending over backwards while we have many lives being lost.”

Cuomo also insisted he does not have discussions with Trump regarding his political ambitions.

“I don’t have any personal, political conversations with the president,” he said. “I talk to the president, I talk to the president about policy issues facing the people of this state.”

At Fundraiser, Trump Muses Of A Cuomo Challenge

From the Morning Memo:

President Donald Trump at a fundraiser on Monday in Utica openly mused about a challenge from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his 2020 re-election bid, telling audience the Democratic governor assured privately he would not run for president.

“But maybe he wants to,” Trump told the audience at the fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney, according to the pool report. “Oh, please do it.”

He added, “Anybody who runs against Trump suffers.”

Cuomo, who has been knocking the president’s policies and rhetoric on immigration, taxes, the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and on gun control, responded on Twitter and in an emailed statement.

“Donald Trump & the NRA – bankrupt bedfellows: literally and morally,” Cuomo said. “Unlike Trump, I’m not afraid to take on the NRA.”

Trump’s remarks at the speech were tailored toward the Republican upstate New York audience at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Utica.

He riffed on the state’s ban on hydrofracking and the state’s high taxes, and discussed his consideration about running for governor in 2014, according to Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey.

This is not firmly a change from the relationship Cuomo sought when Trump was first elected in 2016. At the time, the governor met with the president-elect at Trump Tower to discuss potential infrastructure projects that could benefit New York, such as a new tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey, known as the Gateway project.

But politics and circumstance intervened. Trump’s plans for spending heavily on infrastructure never materialized. And Cuomo, who faces a Democratic primary challenge next month against Cynthia Nixon, has ratcheted up his own rhetoric criticizing Trump, who’s name has become increasingly noxious with the Democratic Party’s base.

Cuomo’s TV ads have cast the governor as a “resistance” leader against Trump as well, and one could be forgiven for thinking he is running for president. Cuomo, for the record, has not expressed any public interest in seeking the presidency and has said he’s focused on being governor.

Still, a Trump versus Cuomo fight benefits the governor with a month to go before his primary — a high-profile war of words similar to the battle with the National Rifle Association that he’s all too happy to face.

On NRA, Williams Calls Cuomo Hypocritical For Choosing Hochul

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic LG candidate Jumaane Williams appears to be aiming for a twofer with his latest online video.

The ad aims to aid gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who recently endorsed Williams, (and he returned the favor), by calling her primary opponent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a hypocrite for his battle with the NRA.

Williams backs up his claim by calling out the governor for choosing his own opponent, LG Kathy Hochul, as his running mate in 2014 and seeking re-election with her this year.

The NRA endorsed Hochul in 2012 when she ran for Congress against recently indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins, and also once graced her with an “A” rating, reserved for lawmakers who vote exactly as the organization wishes on key pieces of legislation.

Williams said Hochul fought to relax regulations on firearm permits from state to state while in Congress. He also said that she fast-tracked the government’s permit application process while serving as Erie County clerk.

“The Cuomo Administration can’t claim to be tough on guns when its second-in-command has such major red flags,” Williams, a Brooklyn councilman, said. “While the Governor reads talking points on national television, New York City has taken significant steps to reduce gun violence, which should be replicated across New York.”

Nixon has leveled similar questions at Cuomo about his support for Hochul, even though the governor clearly was trying to get her off the ticket this year, publicly suggesting that she challenge Collins in a re-match rather than seek re-election to her current post.

Hochul declined that call, which occurred before Collins faced his current crop of legal woes and decided not to seek re-eleciton himself this fall.

During her tenure as LG, Hochul has consistently backed the governor’s agenda, including his fight for gun reform and the SAFE Act, which remains highly unpopular among some upstate voters.

Following Cuomo’s lead, Hochul tweeted a response to President Trump’s upstate visit yesterday, calling New York a “progressive capital of the nation” that fights for women’s rights, immigrants and common sense gun safety laws.

Dominican Leaders Endorse Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday was endorsed by elected officials of Dominican heritage ahead of the governor’s appearance marching in the Dominican Day Parade in New York City.

Cuomo was given the endorsement nods of Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Cuomo was also endorsed by district leaders Manny De Los Santos and Maria Luna.

Governor Cuomo has a proven track record of progressive achievement,” Espaillat said in a statement.

“He has made New York a national leader by fighting tooth and nail against Trump’s family separation policy, creating the Liberty Defense Project, launching the first-of-its-kind Excelsior Scholarship and making record investments in our public schools. He continues to be our strongest ally at a time when attacks on immigrant families and all New Yorkers are coming daily from this ultra-conservative President and his administration. Now more than ever, we need proven progressive leaders and I am proud to endorse Governor Cuomo to continue to lead the fight in New York.”

Cuomo is seeking a third term this year. He faces Cynthia Nixon in a Democratic primary on Sept. 13.

CSEA President Knocks ‘Naive’ Nixon (Updated)

The president of the state’s largest public workers union on Friday criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon’s proposal to amend the Taylor Law to make it easier for public workers to strike without a daily penalty.

“Public sector employees are the backbone of every state and local government across the country,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “They provide essential services every day that keep our communities safe and running smoothly. It is incredibly naïve for Cynthia Nixon to propose that all public sector workers be able to strike. Clearly, she does not have the experience needed to be governor of New York.”

This is a big switch from only a few years ago, when Donohue was a consistent public critic of Cuomo over his policies for a new pension tier and a cost-saving labor contract.

CSEA in 2014 declined to make an endorsement in the race for governor as Cuomo sought a second term. At the time, Donohue derided Cuomo as a “moron” and a “monkey.”

But Cuomo has worked to restore his relationship with public-sector labor organizations and included a provision this year that is meant to lessen the impact of a Supreme Court ruling making it more difficult for public labor unions to collect dues.

Cuomo is also opposed to amending the Taylor Law, telling reporters on Thursday it would cause “chaos” if certain government workers — like teachers and transit employees — could strike without the penalty. Cuomo’s rival, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, agreed.

Updated: The Nixon pointed out a Facebook posted a CUNY professor, Corey Robin, backing the amendment as proposed by Nixon.

“Prohibiting strikes is a fundamental assault on two of our most basic freedoms: the right to withhold one’s labor and the right to act collectively. It literally means that if I were to do what workers in other countries and workplaces are allowed to do by right and by law, I could be put in jail.”

The full post is here.