Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported having “a good conversation” with president-elect Donald Trump—a longtime donor of his—the morning after his shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton, and suggested there might be benefits to having a fellow Queens native in the White House.
In a phone interview with NY1, the Democratic governor expressed pain at Clinton’s loss, recalling his early endorsement of the ex-secretary of state and time working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. But Cuomo happily reported that Trump had expressed interest in his planned investments in the state’s roads, bridges, trains and airports.
“He is a New Yorker and we talked about issues for New York and the building that we are doing. The infrastructure, how we are doing it and the details so it was a good conversation,” the governor said, noting his own close partnership with Republicans in the State Senate, who appear poised to retain their majority. “I know how to work on the other side of the aisle and get things done.”
The governor suggested that Trump’s urban roots would make him easier to work with than GOP leaders who hail from rural and suburban areas, remembering the late Mario Cuomo’s struggles to bring the state funding during the 1980s
“My father used to battle President Reagan, Reaganomics when he was governor, there was an insensitivity to urban areas and the Northeast. Donald Trump won’t have that. He understands some Queens, he knows New York, he knows the challenges, so he’ll bring in an orientation,” Cuomo said. “I think Donald Trump being from New York is a bonus not just for this state, but for other states also.”
Cuomo has an odd history with Trump, who has contributed more than $60,000 to the governor’s past campaigns, which the Democrat has pointedly refused to return. At the same time, the governor has mocked the mogul’s calls for a wall on the Mexican border.
He attracted criticism from other Democrats for publicly meeting with the Republican then-candidate at this year’s 9/11 memorial service. The pair later bickered over the effectiveness of several of Cuomo’s economic development plans, and the governor called upon Republicans across the state to disavow Trump after a video leaked of the mogul talking about sexually assaulting women.
Cuomo was among the New York pols to pump the crowd at the block party outside Clinton’s gathering last night at the Javits Center.
Many suspect the governor of harboring presidential ambitions himself, though he denied such intentions today.
“I see a role for myself as the governor of the State of New York,” he said. “New York has a particular role, not to be a quintessential arrogant New Yorker, but New York has always played a role of leadership in offering the progressive philosophy of life.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.