Mayor Bill de Blasio today defended Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has come under endless criticism from conservative pundits after telling a local radio station that “extreme conservatives, who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay … have no place in the state of New York.”
Mr. Cuomo’s staff have insisted the comments were taken out of context and that he was talking specifically about statewide elections in Democratic-leaning New York. Mr. de Blasio said he shared the sentiment, after giving remarks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C this morning.
“Well I agree with Governor Cuomo’s remarks,” Mr. de. Blasio said, according to a transcript provided by the mayor’s office.
The mayor then offered his own interpretation of the controversy.
“I interpret his remarks to say that 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,” he said.
“We all understand that there’s a right to free speech,” he added. “I wouldn’t disagree with that right, nor would Governor Cuomo. But I think he’s saying that the attitudes of those who want to continue the status quo in this country on guns, or who want to challenge and 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.”
Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Cuomo are currently locked in a battle over how to fund an expansion of universal prekindergarten programs across the state. But Mr. de Blasio, who has repeatedly said that he and the governor remain close, seemed happy to offer his support today.
Asked whether he felt it was necessary to reach out to people who disagree with him in general, Mr. de Blasio returned to his defense of Mr. Cuomo.
“I appreciate the question but let me put it in my own words to be clear,” replied the mayor. “The first point is, we represent our people. And Governor Cuomo’s right and I believe I am on firm ground in saying, our people–the people of New York state and the people of New York City–reject the extremist views against a woman’s right to choose and in favor of the proliferation of guns in our society. And I stand by that 100 percent.”