New York’s top Republican on Tuesday insisted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologize for “divisive rhetoric” he used when he contended there is “no place in the state” for “extreme conservatives” who oppose abortion rights and gay rights and favor legal assault weapons.
Cuomo’s comments, made in a radio interview last Friday, have touched off a national political firestorm, prompting the governor’s administration to attempt to clarify the intent of his message when he argued New York has “no place” for the hard right.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox jumped into the fray Tuesday, arguing the remarks were not only offensive to conservatives but to those following Roman Catholic doctrine as well. Cuomo, who supports taxpayer-funded abortions and opposes parental notification mandates, has said he remains a Catholic.
Cox, the son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, called on Cuomo to apologize to “good Conservatives and Catholics for his statement that they have ‘no place in the state of New York’ and to all New Yorkers for poisoning New York’s politics with divisive rhetoric at a time when New York needs to be united to address its continuing economic problems.”
Cox’s blunt criticism of the first term Democratic governor was mild in comparison to the backlash Cuomo got from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, who represents portions of Otsego and Delaware Counties.
“He’s an intolerant bully,” said Tenney. “I don’t think people who oppose his SAFE Act (year-old legislation restricting gun ownership) are extremists. I don’t think people who are pro-life are extreme.”
Tenney also argued that the words from the governor’s lips will have political consequences for him. “At this point, I don’t see how any Republican or conservative in this state could ever support him for governor,” she said. “If they do, they’re just self-serving opportunists.”