Gov. Cuomo called out President Trump on Tuesday for stoking intolerance, division and anti-Semitism and accused the commander-in-chief of being “afraid of the NRA.”
A day after Trump said the National Rifle Association was “under siege” by Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James, Cuomo ripped into the President and dismissed his claim that New York is illegally investigating the embattled gun lobbying organization.
Citing the deadly Synagogue shooting near San Diego, Calif. on Saturday, the governor said the President is responsible for culture of violence and hatred he said has led to more and more mass shootings each year.
“What this President has done, he’s walked around the house, pouring gasoline on the floor, and then says, ‘every American should have a match.’ No. That’s the toxic cocktail, this environment of hate in the nation,” Cuomo told CNN’s “New Day.” “Yes, intolerance, division, anti-Semitism, racism, plus a gun, plus a gun. That’s when people die.”
The bitter back-and-forth began on Monday when Trump accused Cuomo and James of “illegally using the State’s legal apparatus” to “destroy” the NRA.
James’s office last week launched an investigation into the lobbying group’s tax-exempt status, issuing subpoenas to the gun rights group as well as to its affiliate entities and related businesses.
Cuomo called Trump’s accusations “garbage.”
“The attorney general is independently elected, and she is elected in this state to enforce the law. The NRA is originally chartered in this state. It’s a not-for-profit organization. So she has jurisdiction and she believes there may have been illegal activity. So she is pursuing that case,” he told CNN. “The president’s accusation that it’s politically motivated is all garbage. We don’t do that in New York state.”
Cuomo added that it is “telling” Trump would suspect his home state is using the “criminal justice apparatus for politics.”
“That’s his thinking,” Cuomo said. “That’s his mindset. It’s not how we operate in the New York state.”
Internal turmoil has boiled over at the NRA in recent days as the group’s president said he would be leaving his position and one of the organization’s top lawyers was suspended.
Last week, CEO Wayne LaPierre said outgoing NRA President Oliver North was trying to oust him by threatening to release “damaging” information about him to the board.
Cuomo noted that Trump, who spoke at the organization’s annual meeting over the weekend, appeared to have been swayed against reforming the nation’s gun laws by the group following the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“The president of the United States, for all his bluster, is afraid of the NRA. It is that simple. We know it’s that simple,” Cuomo told CNN’s “New Day.” “The NRA has been strong political force for many, many years. They’re threatening. They have money. They mobilize people.”
The President “came close to doing the right thing on this issue of guns,” before meeting with top NRA officials.
“What happened? 24 hours later, the NRA showed up. They had a conversation with the president. He did a 180-degree turn,” the governor said.
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