You may have already heard the latest hot rumor suggesting that the President is looking into cutting off funding to various “anarchist” cities that are moving to defund or otherwise dismantle their police forces. New York City obviously made that list since they’ve already slashed a billion dollars from the NYPD budget, abolished their plain-clothes crime unit and taken other steps to weaken the cops.
As it turns out, that didn’t sit very well with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (the more successful brother of “Fredo”). The news hadn’t been out for more than a couple of hours yesterday before Cuomo called an emergency press conference. In it, he lambasted the President over a variety of policy issues while slipping in attacks of a personal nature on both Donald Trump and his family. He calls the President “a clown” at one point while insisting that the Pandemic’s severe impact on New York City was somehow Trump’s fault. (Ironic, coming from the guy whose disastrous nursing home policy probably killed more people than were murdered on the streets of New York in the past decade.)
But it was allegedly toward the end of his statement where he got himself in some potential trouble. According to the New York Post, Cuomo put forth a series of statements suggesting that Donald Trump would not be physically safe if he showed back up in his old stomping grounds, suggesting that he “better have an army” if he wants to walk the streets of Gotham and that he doesn’t have enough security to do so safely.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday all but threatened President Trump’s safety if he returns to New York City in a rant responding to an exclusive story by The Post that Trump is looking to pull federal funds from “lawless” cities including New York.
Cuomo called an emergency press briefing within a half hour on Wednesday night to tear into Trump for the order, which cites New York’s rising murder rate and defunding of the NYPD.
“He better have an army if he thinks he’s gonna walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him,” the Democrat said, all but threatening the commander in chief.
The followup line from Cuomo was, “He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City, people don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
I don’t know if somebody grabbed the Governor’s elbow to reel him back in after those threatening remarks (the announcement was made over the phone, not on camera) or if he realized he had just put his foot in his mouth in a potentially illegal fashion. Either way, Cuomo finished up that portion of the call by attempting to do a little damage control. It didn’t work out very well.
“My comment about the president and bodyguards in New York City, all I’m saying is that 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 to New Yorkers and how many times he’s tried to kill the city that gave him his start and birthed him. That’s what I meant about the bodyguards.”
Yeah, Governor Cuomo, I’m not sure that makes things much better. Any time you’re talking about a need for more bodyguards or “an army,” you’re suggesting a physical threat that would require mitigation to keep the person safe. And when you’re talking about the President of the United States, that’s a special class of speech that’s not quite as free as the rest of the things you might say. In fact, we have a federal law specifically prohibiting threats against the President or anyone in the line of succession.
Is anyone going to seriously consider charging Cuomo under that statute? I highly doubt it. This was just more political bluster from a career politician with some grievances to air. Of course, this really isn’t anything new for Cuomo. He’s somewhat famous for his short temper and a tendency to lash out at anyone he feels has offended him. It probably runs in the family because his brother Chris has also reportedly blown his stack on a number of occasions. For that matter, their father (a former New York Governor himself) wasn’t exactly known for a flowers and unicorns, peace be with you attitude either.
All Cuomo is really doing here is giving Trump another Democratic target to tee up in his sights during his next speech. I’m sure Cuomo knows that quite well and this may have been a calculated move. Getting in a fight with Donald Trump is a sure way to gain accolades from your liberal base and most of the media. And as a New York politician, that’s just a cheap and easy way to score some points.