Cuomo slams Trump after report says White House wants to divert funds away from NYC

Posted at 8:18 PM, Sep 02, 2020

NEW YORK — In a blistering rebuke of President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the sitting president the worst "in history" from a New York vantage point after a report emerged that the president signed a memo ordering the federal government to begin the process of defunding New York City and other cities where protests have broken out and crime has increased.

Federal agencies were told by the administration to send reports to the White House Office of Management and Budget to details funds that can be redirected away from New York City; Washington, D.C.; Seattle and Portland, the New York Post reported.

"President Trump has actively sought to punish NYC since day one," Cuomo said in a tweet. "He let COVID ambush New York. He refuses to provide funds that states and cities MUST receive to recover. He is not a king. He cannot 'defund' NYC. It's an illegal stunt."

New York City gets more than $7 billion annually from the federal government, according to a 2017 report from city's comptroller.

Cuomo, in a Wednesday night conference call, said it was personal for Trump.

"New York City rejected him — always," Cuomo said. "He was dismissed as a clown in New York City."

He said the Trump administration has done everything in their power to hurt New York City, citing a lack of funding or action for the Second Avenue Subway, the LaGuardia AirTrain, congestion pricing and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic.

"The best thing he did for New York City was leave," Cuomo said. "Good riddance."

This comes at the same time as Congress squabbles over providing financial assistance to state and local governments in a coronavirus relief bill. The city government is currently dealing with a budget shortfall that could result in the dismissal of 22,000 municipal workers.

In addition to condemnation from Albany, City Hall criticized the president's actions.

"As much as Donald Trump wants New York City to drop dead, we will never let this stand," a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "This has nothing to do with 'law and order.' This is a racist campaign stunt out of the Oval Office to attack millions of people of color."

In March, Trump threatened to withhold law enforcement grants from New York, and other sanctuary cities like it. At the time, Mayor de Blasio warned the cut would affect budgets for law enforcement and other first responders. Now, with the city reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, that impact could be even worse.

It's a threat that dates back to 2016. At the time, the first page of Trump’s “100 -day action plan to Make America Great Again” said Trump would cancel federal funding to sanctuary cities “to restore security and the constitutional rule of law.”

A 2017 analysis from City Comptroller Scott Stringer found that about 10 percent of the money the city spends each year to keep residents healthy, safe and informed comes from the federal government.

A request for comment has been left for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

While it's likely that the president's memo will lead to a complex legal discussion, Cuomo was more succinct.

"President Ford said 'drop dead,'" Cuomo said of the infamous Daily News front page from 1975. "President Trump has actively been trying to kill New York City ever since he's been elected."

This article was written by Corey Crockett and Aliza Chasan for WPIX.