NY GOP Chief to Cuomo: Apologize for Insult to Conservatives

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 06:48 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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A prominent New York conservative Republican on Tuesday demanded an apology from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his "unacceptable" comments that "extreme conservatives" were not welcome in New York.

In an interview on Fox News, state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox called on the governor to "apologize to New York's good conservatives and Catholics for his statement that they 'have no place in the state of New York' and for poisoning New York's politics with divisive rhetoric at a time when New York needs to be united to address its continuing economic problems."

Last week, Cuomo was speaking on a local public radio station, The Capitol Pressroom, about the political divisiveness within the GOP in Washington, and said it was also happening in New York state.

"You have the Republican Party searching for identity; they are searching to define their soul," Cuomo said. "Their problem is not me and Democrats, their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay, is that who they are? Because if that's who they are and they're the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that's not who New Yorkers are."

His remarks ignited a backlash.

"I think we may have seen the real Cuomo here in that remark," Politico reports Cox as saying. "The remark stands for itself, what it is. He specified people who are pro-life and are pro-Second Amendment. He said they have no place in New York, especially New York that prides itself on diversity," Cox said. "If he didn't mean it, apologize for it and let's move on. But he hasn't apologized, he's tried to explain it."

Cuomo attorney Mylan Denerstein said the governor's remarks were being taken out of context and it "is unfair, false and the exact opposite of what his tenure as attorney general and his state administration has been all about."

"The governor has never demonized the opposition to his gun law nor stance on protecting choice nor marriage equality. The governor is a gun owner and a Catholic. His faith is very important to him and he respects the Second Amendment," Denerstein said.

"The governor was making the point that he makes often: New York is a politically moderate state, and an extremist agenda is not politically viable statewide. New York has a long history of electing Democrats and Republicans statewide who are moderate rather than on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. That is an inarguable fact.

"If you read the transcript, it is clear that the governor was making the observation that an extreme-right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state," Denerstein said.

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