NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a week after being criticized by his friend-turned-foe New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, calmly returned fire on Tuesday, chalking up the mayor’s frustration to his failures in Albany and suggesting he’s an ideologue incapable of compromise.
The relationship between Cuomo and de Blasio — a pairing that has received scrutiny from the city’s tabloids usually reserved for celebrity romances — took a dramatic turn June 30, when de Blasio, fresh off a disappointing state legislative session, lambasted the governor. De Blasio said his hopes “of a very strong partnership” with Cuomo, a fellow Democrat who worked with him at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, had been dashed.
“I have been disappointed at every turn,” de Blasio said then.
Cuomo largely ignored the remarks, the most direct challenge from a New York mayor to a governor in decades, for a week, but he took the bait amid a gaggle of reporters on Tuesday.
“Look, the mayor was obviously frustrated he did not get everything he wanted from the legislative session,” said Cuomo, speaking slowly as if to educate a small child. “Welcome to Albany.”
Cuomo took pains to point out Albany has a Democratic-run state Assembly and a Republican-run state Senate, a split government that requires frequent compromise to avoid gridlock and stands in stark contrast with the New York City government, over which Democrats have a virtual monopoly.
“I have had extraordinary success working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis,” the governor said. “(The mayor) chose to publically vent his frustration. That’s the mayor’s style. That’s not my style.”
The truthfulness of that assertion was unclear, as de Blasio rarely publicly loses his composure and has almost never spoken out against Cuomo, even as the governor has thwarted much of the mayor’s liberal agenda. Cuomo, meanwhile, has not denied being the unnamed source in a Daily News story last month that ripped the mayor’s leadership style.
De Blasio, in particular, said he was angry with Cuomo for playing an instrumental role in the legislature reauthorizing the extension of mayoral control of city schools by just one year. De Blasio had initially asked for permanent control.
“But renewal for one year is better than expiration, right?” asked Cuomo, before appearing to twist the knife further. “But next year we come back and, if he does a good job, then we can say he should have more control.”
De Blasio is on a week-long, out-of-state vacation that began hours after he attacked Cuomo, but his press secretary said his comments from last week stand.
“The accountability that comes with mayoral control means the buck stops with the mayor, and the people of this city can hold him or her responsible for student outcomes,” spokeswoman Karen Hinton said. “This most recent short-term extension breaks with the consensus on every end of the education and political spectrum that mayoral control works.”
Cuomo largely shrugged off many of the mayor’s comments, saying voters don’t care about a personality conflict and saying he would continue to work with de Blasio in the months ahead. He also dismissed former senator Al D’Amato’s suggestion that the two men have a “pasta summit” to sort out their differences.
“I don’t know how I feel about pasta summits,” Cuomo said. “I know how I feel about pasta, not sure about a pasta summit.”