Gov. Cuomo stepped into a new electioneering snafu on Sunday when he stood at the pulpit of a Bronx church to make an official executive announcement — flanked by video screens showing his current campaign poster.
Cuomo made what his office said was an official government visit to the Heavenly Vision Christian Center to announce a planned lawsuit over President Trump’s response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
But when Cuomo began speaking, two flat-screen TVs displayed a slideshow with images that included a poster saying “CUOMO FOR GOVERNOR.”
The ad features Cuomo’s smiling face and campaign logo, which has a red check mark superimposed on the “M” in his name. Video of the speech, including the screens showing the poster, was immediately posted on his official gubernatorial Web site and YouTube account.
During his speech, Cuomo accused Trump of violating the Constitution by giving Puerto Rico “a different level of care than Texas and Florida and other states” following Hurricane Maria last year, NBCNY reports.
“We’re going to hold ‘King’ Trump to the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution said equal protection under the law. Puerto Rico did not receive equal protection under the law,” Cuomo said.
The video of Cuomo’s 16-minute speech showed the camera zoom in on him after about 90 seconds. Both TV screens are dark when the camera zooms back out around the 3-minute, 20-second mark.
A Cuomo spokeswoman blamed the church for the display of his campaign poster.
“This was a government event and while we appreciate that the church produced materials to welcome the Governor, as soon as staff realized they were campaign related, we asked them to be taken down and they were,” spokeswoman Dani Lever said in an e-mail.
The video was altered to eliminate all but a brief, partial glimpse of one sign. Lever thanked The Post “for bringing it to our attention.”
Heavenly Vision released a statement Sunday night claiming the image was selected by its media team — which was unaware that it contained the campaign logo.
Cuomo is running against former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary. Nixon spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said Cuomo “has truly been shameless when it comes to using government resources to promote his campaign, but this is a new low.”
Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for re-election this year, pardoned seven people who had criminal convictions ranging from petty larceny to drug possession, according to Fox News. Cuomo’s office confirmed the pardons.
“At a time when President Trump and the Federal government are waging a war on our immigrant communities, New York stands firm in our belief that our diversity is our greatest strength,” Cuomo said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“While President Trump engages in policies that rip children out of the arms of their mothers and tries to ramp up the deportation of New Yorkers to advance his political agenda of hate and division, we will protect our immigrant communities. With the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, New York will always stand against the hate coming out of Washington and instead serve as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all,” Cuomo said, according to Fox News.
Frank Barker, 43, was one of the seven pardoned by Cuomo, according to the governor’s office. Barker was convicted of criminal possession of stolen property and controlled substances and identity theft. The governor’s office stated those crimes were because of a drug addiction.
Fox News and Newsday reported the others who were pardoned:
Jose Rafael Cruz, 53, who was convicted of a sale of a controlled substance.
Ludames De La Cruz, 53, who was convicted for an attempted sale of a controlled substance.
Elpidio Rodriguez, 57, who was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance and being intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle 19 years ago.
Tamar Samuda, 35, who was convicted 17 years ago of assault and petty theft.
Marino Soto, 43, who was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Carlos Suarez, 41, who was convicted of petty theft.
The spokeswoman for the Republican candidate challenging Cuomo criticized the pardons.
“Everything Andrew Cuomo does is for his own political benefit, regardless of whether it’s right, wrong or dangerous to the public,” said Katherine Delgado, a spokeswoman for Republican nominee Marc Molinaro, according to Newsday.
In June of 2017, Cuomo challenged President Donald Trump to deport him, saying that, “We are all immigrants,” according to Fox News.
According to Fox News, Cuomo said unless people belonged to the Onondaga, Mohawk or certain other Native American tribes from New York, they were immigrants.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 3rd, 2018