Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has been the “worst president in history” from the point of New York City, and that the “best thing he did for New York City was leave.”
And that was followed with a message of dismissal from Cuomo for the president, who transferred his primary residence to Florida last year: “good riddance.”
Cuomo was responding to a report from the New York Post published late Wednesday, which said Trump had ordered federal agencies to figure out how they could strip funding from New York City in response to a rise in crime in the five boroughs.
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump wrote in a memo to agencies, the Post reported.
New York City has experienced a rise in crime, particularly shootings, in recent months. Shootings more than doubled in August compared to the same time last year, according to the New York City Police Department.
Police unions, and members of law enforcement, have blamed the spike on recent changes to the state’s criminal justice laws, which largely eliminated the option of cash bail for low-level charges. There’s been no conclusive research to support that argument.
Trump, in his memo to federal agencies, justified the decision by saying the federal government shouldn’t be sending aid to cities that aren’t using it to “protect life, liberty, and property,” according to the Post.
Cuomo, meanwhile, said he thought the president’s efforts were personal, and at one point said he was “dismissed as a clown” in the five boroughs.
“I’m telling you it’s personal because New York City knows him for the joke he is,” Cuomo said. “The people who know him best like him least. He lost New York City in the election. He lost New York state, and he’s going to do it again. He’s going to lose because we know him.”
Cuomo also said that Trump was either bluffing, and wouldn’t be able to strip federal funding from New York City, or that the law would prevent him from actually executing such a decision. Those funds are appropriated by Congress, not the executive, Cuomo said.
“He’s not going to do anything because he doesn’t have the legal power to do anything. It’s just a legal statement,” Cuomo said. “I’m sure he doesn’t know the law. He never knew the law. And when he knows it, he breaks it anyway.”
Cuomo didn’t say whether New York would sue the Trump administration if it decides to move forward with any funding cuts, but that’s not unlikely given the state’s penchant for litigation against the federal government.
A cut in federal funding to New York City would come at a time when the state is facing a budget deficit to the tune of $14 billion heading into next year. New York City, alone, is anticipating a $9 billion shortfall.
Trump is also asking federal agencies to target Washington, D.C. and Portland, OR for potential funding cuts as well, citing crime in those cities. New York City, Washington, and Portland all saw weeks of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.