New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s remarks on “extreme conservatives” and provided a nuanced take on the comments that have become part of a growing controversy for the governor.

De Blasio, in Washington, D.C. to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Thursday, told reporters that Cuomo was “absolutely right” when it came to conservative views on abortion and gun control aren’t held by a majority of New Yorkers.

Cuomo’s remarks in a public radio interview last week have inflamed conservatives nationally.

Cuomo in an interview with The Capitol Pressroom on WCNY knocked Republican candidates who are running against his gun control measure from 2013, noting that it is moderate Republicans in the Senate who backed the proposal.

“Their problem is not me and Democrats, their problem is themselves,” Cuomo continued. “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right to life, pro assault weapon, anti-gay, is that who they are? Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.”

De Blasio said today he agreed with Cuomo, and disagreed with a reporter who said Cuomo had told conservatives to leave the state.

“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s remarks,” de Blasio said. “I wouldn’t phrase it the way you did with all due respect. I interpreted his remarks to be an extremist attitude that continues the reality of violence in our communities or an extremist attitude that denies the rights of women does not represent the views of the people of New York state. We all understand there’s a right to free speech. I wouldn’t disagree with that nor would Governor Cuomo. But I think he’s saying the attitudes of the people who want to continue the status quo on guns challenge or deny a woman’s right to choose does not reflect the values of New Yorkers. So I think he was absolutely right to say what he said.”

De Blasio and Cuomo remain at odds over how to fund a universal pre-Kindergarten program. De Blasio wants to raise taxes on those making $500,000 and more a year in order to pay for the program on the city level.

Cuomo, in his budget address, proposed a $1.5 billion program statewide that would be phased in over five years.

The mayor emphasized his areas of agreement with Cuomo, but he reiterated that he wants funding for universal pre-K locked in and not subject to political whims at the state Capitol.

“He obviously feels deeply that we need to do better on pre-K for the future of our city and our state. So we have common ground on that,” de Blasio said. “We need reliable funding and we need a substantial amount of funding to get this up and running. We can’t do that plan properly if we don’t have that money locked in.”