NEW YORK (AP) — The cold war between New York’s two leading Democrats is showing no signs of abating.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday did not back down in his ongoing feud with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, doubling down on his criticisms of Albany, rebuffing a call for a “pasta summit” to clear the air and vowing he would continue to call out further obstructions from his friend-turned-foe.
“What I’m not comfortable with is business as usual in Albany, because too often that has left the people of New York City out of the equation,” de Blasio said after an unrelated event in Brooklyn. “When Albany doesn’t listen to what people in this city need and doesn’t act, I will fight.”
The bitter back-and-forth between de Blasio and Cuomo reached new heights — or, perhaps more aptly, plunged to new depths — in recent weeks.
Even as Cuomo repeatedly blocked portions of de Blasio’s agenda, the two men have touted their decades-long friendship. But things took a frosty turn last week when de Blasio, upset with what he perceived was the governor’s lack of assistance for New York City during the closing days of the state legislative session, unburdened himself of 18 months of frustration.
“I have been disappointed at every turn,” de Blasio said then.
The remarks, the most direct challenge from a New York mayor to a governor in decades, elicited some cutting retorts on Tuesday from Cuomo, who painted the mayor as an ideologue who is incapable of the compromises needed to pass legislation.
“Welcome to Albany,” the governor said sarcastically. “The mayor was obviously frustrated he did not get everything he wanted from the legislative session.”
Cuomo further needled de Blasio by saying it is the mayor’s custom to air his frustration, even though most observers feel de Blasio’s outburst was out of character. The mayor on Thursday did not apologize for his unusual public criticisms of the governor.
“I would say my most illustrious predecessor, Fiorello La Guardia, didn’t bite his tongue,” de Blasio said. “I think he called them as he saw them. I think he was the greatest mayor we ever had. And it’s my job to speak truth as I see it.”
“But I can work with anyone, including people I have disagreements with,” the mayor continued. “That’s part of the work we do.”
De Blasio left for a weeklong out-of-state vacation hours after criticizing Cuomo last week, returning Wednesday night. He, like Cuomo before him, dismissed former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato’s suggestion that the two men, both of Italian heritage, have a “pasta summit” to sort out their differences.
“I personally am trying to lose weight, so I’m staying away from pasta,” the mayor joked. “But I do appreciate the goodwill offer.”