ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo invoked the name of his longtime ally, former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, in the latest verbal spat between himself and President Donald Trump since the president announced he was changing his residency from New York City to Florida.
Trump on Tuesday tweeted that New York’s “Radical Left Dems are killing our cities,” in reference to Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. He cited a new law in New York that will end cash bail in the state in most cases starting in January and will free inmates being held on low-level offenses as early as next month.
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“So sad to see what is happening in New York where Governor Cuomo & Mayor DeBlasio are letting out 900 Criminals, some hardened & bad, onto the sidewalks of our rapidly declining, because of them, city,” the tweet reads.
Cuomo, in a retort emailed to reporters Tuesday evening, pointed out that the new cash bail system Trump criticized is similar to the one implemented by Christie when he was governor of New Jersey. Christie has had a close relationship with both Trump and Cuomo.
“He failed to mention it is essentially the same bail reform law New Jersey passed several years ago under Republican Governor Chris Christie, his Transition Director,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo accused the president of creating a distraction from what he charges is Trump’s real motivation for leaving the state: to avoid New York prosecutors and politicians who want to force a release of the president’s tax returns — an effort that has gained steam in recent months.
“Trump’s latest deflection for his legal vulnerability was to squeal about the New York bail reform law,” Cuomo said.
Christie and Cuomo have collaborated extensively over the years and consider each other friends. Cuomo was recently the first guest at Christie’s new political institute at Seton Hall Law School.
Christie was one of the first major Republican politicians to endorse Trump, another personal friend, after he ended his own presidential run in 2016. He then chaired Trump’s transition team before he was fired and replaced by Mike Pence. He has said he was offered several jobs working for the administration, including some cabinet-level positions, but turned the positions down.
Despite funding issues, New Jersey’s bail reform is largely considered a success, and the state’s jail population is continuing to drop as a result.
Ryan Hutchins contributed to this report.