After a night of unusual silence, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his first public remarks following his victory in Thursday’s Democratic primary, appearing at his office in Manhattan to talk about hurricane readiness and President Donald Trump — and, after prodding by reporters, his big win over Cynthia Nixon.
Cuomo, who did not hold an election night victory party, did no interviews and issued only a brief tweet on election night, spoke with a tinge of bitterness in his voice and chafed at Nixon’s campaign message that he wasn’t a true progressive.
Cuomo said voters had resoundingly agreed with him.
“I think I received more votes in the Democratic primary than any governor in history,” he said. “I am from the most progressive tradition in the Democratic Party. My father was a progressive when they called progressives liberals.”
New Yorkers, he said, had made a “very loud and clear and powerful statement” that they want a governor who will deliver results on a liberal platform, not just talking points, using his hands to make a yapping gesture.
“They have real problems and they need real help in life. And they don’t need theoretical and abstract solutions,” he said, adding that nobody had voted for him because of his looks or his charm.
More than anything else, Cuomo said, voters want someone who will defend them against Trump’s damaging policies.
“The fear of Trump is real,” he said.
Cuomo also dismissed the idea that established Democrats, like him, are in danger of being tossed out of office by young, leftist candidates. He called congressional primaries that produced surprise victories by more radical liberals a “fluke” and noted that he won the Queens and Bronx district captured last fall by Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by a large margin.
“I’m not a socialist. I’m not 25 years old. I know I may look at it. I’m not a newcomer … but I am progressive, and I delivered progressive results,” he said.