New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is attempting to fend off criticism of his controversial comments that conservative citizens who are pro-life, anti-gay or pro-gun "have no place in the state of New York."
In a statement on his official website, the Democratic governor says his remarks were distorted by the "reckless" New York Post when the newspaper reported that Cuomo said conservatives should leave New York.
"The governor did not say that, nor does he believe that," says the statement.
"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 (either moderate Republican or moderate Democratic)."
On Albany's The Capitol Pressroom radio show
Friday, Cuomo appeared to denounce conservative Republicans when he 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?"
He continued, "Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are."
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But in his statement, which was seen as the governor's quickly "backtracking" by The Weekly Standard
, Cuomo said that he said it "is fine" for New Yorkers with right-wing views to be anti-gay, against gun control, and anti-choice, as he respects their position as well.
He added, "The Post can allow any person they want to publish in their paper, but if they are to retain any credibility they cannot be entirely reckless with facts and the truth."
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