ALBANY, N.Y. — Brushing off a threat by President Donald Trump to withdraw federal funds from “anarchist” municipalities like New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York launched his harshest attack yet on his fellow Queens native, saying he is "persona non grata" in the city of his birth.
“He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City,” Cuomo said on Wednesday night. “Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York. … He is persona non grata in New York City, and I think he knows that, and he’ll never come back to New York, because New Yorkers will never forget how gratuitously mean he has been."
A gubernatorial spokesperson later clarified that Cuomo did not mean that the president would literally need such additional protection, but was simply illustrating how unwelcome he would be in the city.
Late last year Trump switched his official residence from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan to Florida.
The New York Post reported on Wednesday evening that the president had signed a memo asking federal agencies to explore how they might be able to shift funds away from “cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.” The memo mentioned New York, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, DC.
Cuomo said that he doesn’t “believe anything will come” from that option.
Trump “is not a king,” the governor said in an evening conference call. “He thinks he’s a king but he’s not, he’s a president. And there is a Constitution and there are laws — nothing that he knows anything about — but the federal budget is appropriated by law. … The statutes contain the funding conditions and he can’t override the law. I suspect it’s more of a political statement than anything else.”
Cuomo used the opportunity to not simply make a legal argument against Trump’s threat, but to assail him personally.
“Those that know him best like him least. That’s true about New York City, that’s true about his own family,” Cuomo said. “His sister, a former federal judge, is disgraced by him. What does that say about a person?"
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump called on CNN to fire Cuomo’s brother Chris over revelations that he had once been questioned about a sexual harassment accusation. In doing so, the president referred to Chris Cuomo as “Fredo,” a reference to "The Godfather" that the Cuomo family has long characterized as an anti-Italian slur.
The governor suggested that Trump has personal animus toward the city because it overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and will presumably support Joe Biden.
“From the point of view of New York City, [Trump] has been the worst president,” Cuomo said. “President Ford said drop dead. President Trump has been actively trying to kill New York City ever since he was elected.”
“You want to do something about public safety, try doing your job,” Cuomo said. “One thousand people under your federal leadership are dying currently per day from Covid. You have the worst record on the globe in terms of leadership.”
Read more: politico.com