ALBANY, N.Y. – Controversy has been stirring over recent comments made by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who stated in a radio interview that ‘extreme’ political candidates ‘have no place in the state.’
Cuomo made his comments on public radio’s The Capital Pressroom as he asserted that there was tension in the Republican Party due to differences between moderates and “extreme” conservatives.
“The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It is more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans,” he said. “And a moderate Republican in Washington can’t figure out how to deal with the extreme Republicans. And the moderate Republicans are affair of the extreme conservative Republicans in Washington in my opinion.”
Cuomo then went on to state that he has seen the rift in New York, and asserted that politicians who he considers to be ultra-conservative—namely pro-life and pro-family Republicans—do not belong in the state.
“Their problem is not me and Democrats, their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay; is that who they are?” he asked. “Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.”
Cuomo asserted that those who hold to pro-life, pro-gun and pro-family views are unlikely to win elections in the state.
“And who is going to win between the conservative republicans, the extremely conservative Republicans and the moderately conservative Republicans? And literally look at the issues that they pick: are we right to life or are we pro-choice?” he stated. “Well, if you are right to life, that is your opinion and that’s your religious belief, that is fine, but that is not the opinion of this state, which
70% are pro-choice in this state.”
“‘[They say], ‘We don’t agree with gay marriage, we are anti-gay.’ That is fine, but 70% of this state about is now pro-gay marriage, so figure out who you are and figure out if you are of a extreme conservative philosophy and if you can survive in this state,” Cuomo continued. “And the answer is no.”
Initial reports about Cuomo’s comments stirred controversy, as many outlets, including the New York Post, asserted that the governor had stated that those who supported life and opposed homosexuality were not welcome in New York.
But Cuomo’s office wrote an open letter to the Post on Saturday, advising that his words had been taken out of context.
“The New York Post distorted Governor Cuomo’s words yesterday, saying that the governor said ‘conservatives should leave New York.’ The governor did not say that, nor does he believe that,” the letter read. “[I]t is clear that the governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state (either moderate Republican or moderate Democratic).”
However, some are still expressing disapproval of Cuomo’s assertions, stating that it is instead the governor and his views that are out of place in New York.
“I guess the governor believes if you don’t believe the way he does, there’s not room in what he thinks is his state,” Michael Long of the Conservative Party told Buffalo News. “I believe this state is made up of men and women from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point who have all sorts of views, some who believe in the Second Amendment, some who believe in traditional marriage, some who believe government, especially in New York State, spends too much money and taxes are too high.”
Photo: Pat Arnow