New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted President Donald Trump during his inauguration speech on Tuesday, saying, “America’s only threat is from within.”
Cuomo, who was entangled in a closely-watched but non-competitive primary race against progressive challenger Cynthia Nixon, avoided name-dropping Trump but did say that the government “has sought to demonize our differences and make our diversity our greatest weakness rather than our greatest strength,” according to a report from the New York Times.
Adding to the symbolism was the setting of Cuomo’s third inauguration address: Ellis Island. The island was the first stop for millions of immigrants.
At the same time, President Trump has shut down the government over funding for his border wall. And Cuomo was pretty transparent on his attacks on the funding fight, saying, “Let New York say that the federal government may shut itself down but it will never extinguish the Statue of Liberty’s torch. It will never erase the words of her poem.”
The governor has said that he won’t be among the ever-deepening field of Democrats hoping to unseat Trump in 2020, but for some, he’s become emblematic of the Democrats’ constant struggle to bridge the divide between the progressive and traditional branches of their party.
Cuomo represents the New York Democratic machine, and the Times reported that his inauguration speech was attended by the political fat cats that keep that machine running.
During his campaign, he railed pretty regularly against the Trump administration and the move to keep Ellis Island open is coming at the expense of his own administration — the island is under the Statue of Liberty National Monument and without government funding, it would be shut down. Around the country, other national parks have closed their doors.
Cuomo will serve four terms and New York is a state where the governors are not term-limited, meaning he can keep on running for his seat for as long as we wants to.