Did Cuomo Threaten Trump? Governor Slams President Over Move to Defund NYC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested Donald Trump would need "an army" to walk New York City's streets safely as he lampooned the president over proposals to potentially defund what he labels "anarchist jurisdictions."

Describing how unwanted he felt the president was in the city, Cuomo said he "can't have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City."

"Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he's going to walk down the streets in New York," he said, in comments to reporters Wednesday.

Returning to those comments later in the call, The New York Post reported Cuomo added: "My comment about the president and bodyguards in New York City, all I'm saying is that he is persona non grata in New York City."

Politico reported that a gubernatorial spokesperson said Cuomo did not literally mean Trump would need to be protected in such a way but was just alluding to how unwelcome he would be in New York City.

Recent polling suggested New Yorkers are ashamed of Trump being from there.

The president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr. voiced criticism of the remarks from Cuomo.

He said the Democratic governor was "another Joe Biden voter threatening violence," adding: "This is now the norm in the democrat party."

Students for Trump said the comment "sounds like a threat."

His comments came after the president ordered the Justice Department to look at "anarchist jurisdictions," which could see federal funding withdrawn from them.

New York City was named among areas where "persistent and outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated."

Such areas will face a review to look at "the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America's cities."

"My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We're putting them on notice today," Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Cuomo responded to this by suggesting that "from the point of view of New York City, this has been the worst president in history."

He went on to question the president's ability to pull funds from cities in the manner suggested, adding: "As far as this statement he's going to stop funding for New York City - he's not a king. He thinks he's a king but he's not. He's a President. But there's the Constitution and there are laws, nothing that he knows anything about. But the federal budget is appropriated by law with conditions of funding by law.

"Part of the funding went to Department of Housing and Urban Development which I used to head. The statutes contain the conditions and he can't override the law. I suspect it's more of a political statement that he's making than anything else, but it's also illegal what he's talking about. So that's my response to the President."

Newsweek has contacted Cuomo's office and the White House for comment.

The latest clash continues an ongoing spat between Cuomo and Trump.

Cuomo's speech at the Democratic National Convention recently produced a flurry of tweets in response from Trump.

The New York Governor had branded the federal government as "dysfunctional and incompetent," leading Trump to take aim at Cuomo's own actions in handling the COVID-19 crisis in New York.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City. He has criticized the president and spoken of him being unwelcome in New York City. Byron Smith/Getty Images