In a debate with challenger Cynthia Nixon for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared, “New York is the state that is suing Donald Trump for ripping babies from the arms of their mothers, saying we will not cooperate with ICE they’re a bunch of thugs. We said we will sue them if they violate any criminal laws in the state of New York.”
Cuomo is fighting an unexpectedly strong challenge from the former “Sex in the City” star, who is running to his left. Nixon was one of the early backers of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Socialist who upset long-serving incumbent Joe Crowley in her congressional primary earlier this summer.
Whether Cuomo’s political pandering is good politics or bad politics is irrelevant. (It is more likely the latter. Even in solid blue New York people have not lost their minds.) What is important is that that sort of rhetoric from a sitting governor is dangerous. When the governor of New York labels a law enforcement agency as “a bunch of thugs,” he is almost inviting violence against the men and women who serve in ICE.
Gov. Cuomo is free to protest against any federal policies he finds objectionable. That is his right as a citizen. He’s even free to waste the taxpayers of New York’s money with frivolous lawsuits over matters that are under the federal government’s control. What no responsible public official should have the right to do is endanger the lives and safety of duly empowered law enforcement officials by labeling them “thugs,” because he thinks it will help him win votes.