What to Know
- Cuomo has dodged questions that he's running for president
- At a union event, he evoked poet Langston Hughes (and Trump), saying: "We will make America America again"
- The governor also took a shot at Mayor de Blasio's handling of public housing in the city
People are once again speculating Gov. Andrew Cuomo may run for president in 2020 after he ended a raucous speech in front of union supporters with a spin on President Trump’s signature 2016 catchphrase.
“We will make America America again!” the governor roared to a crowd at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday as he celebrated the endorsement of Local 1199, a large health care workers union.
When asked after the speech if he was introducing a presidential campaign slogan, Cuomo said he was referencing a poem by Langston Hughes. The governor was close; the poem’s title is: “Let America Be America Again.”
Some in attendance noticed the presidential overtones.
“He say he’s running for governor, but he really needs to be running for president,” said Arenda Williams, a nurse who watched the speech.
Cuomo has sidestepped questions about his political future and has said he's focused on a third term as governor.
State Senator John DeFrancisco, who's running for governor against him, blasted Cuomo on Wednesday, saying he's hiding behind photo-ops while the subway system he controls falls apart.
DeFrancisco said part of his strategy is to peel votes away from Cuomo in New York City. “You can make it close enough to take advantage of the Upstate total dissatisfaction with the governor,” he said.
So far, former State Senator Terry Gipson is running against Cuomo for the Democratic nomination. Two others may also vie for the position of governor: actress Cynthia Nixon and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
But Cuomo spent Wednesday taking swipes at another politician: President Trump.
“We’re going to say to Mr. Trump: ‘We’re going to hold you accountable for what you have done to our country,’” Cuomo said.
The governor also targeted rival Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying: “It’s not okay to have the greatest wealth, and have people in public housing with no heat and living with lead paint. That’s not our America.”
In a statement, City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips responded to Cuomo’s comments on NYCHA, gloves off.
“The decades-long federal and state divestment from New York City public housing that put NYCHA tenants in this position was presided over by HUD Secretary Cuomo, Attorney General Cuomo, and Governor Cuomo. Mayor de Blasio’s more than $2 billion investment in public housing aims to undo that Cuomo legacy and strengthen NYCHA for the first time in a generation,” Phillips said.