‘I also have blonde hair, blue eyes and a little button nose. Can you see it, John, my little button nose?’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After New York’s state Attorney General Letitia James launched a partisan investigation into the finances of the National Rifle Association, Gov. Andrew Cuomo attempted to distance himself from it on Tuesday.
However, Cuomo—who acknowledged having his own vendetta against the powerful gun-rights group—nonetheless jumped at the opportunity to lob cheap shots at both President Donald Trump and the NRA.
“[T]he President of the United States, for all his bluster, is afraid of the NRA. It is that simple,” Cuomo told CNN‘s “New Day” host John Berman, who replaced the governor’s brother, Chris, on the leftist network’s morning show when the latter received his own prime-time program last May.
“We know it is that simple,” Cuomo continued. “The NRA has been a strong political force for many, many years. They’re threatening. They have money. They mobilize people.”
James’s investigation into the NRA’s finances followed the surprise departure of NRA President Oliver North on Saturday. North, who assumed the role last year, accused longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre of charging some $200,0000 in personal expenses to a vendor.
Trump—a firm NRA supporter who became the first president since Ronald Reagan to address the group’s annual convention in 2017, and returned last week to address it’s most recent one—issued a statement criticizing the New York investigation as being politically motivated.
“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State Attorney General, who are illegally using the state’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy the very important organization and others,” Trump said, according to CNN. “It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting and get back to greatness fast.”
Cuomo responded by denying that he had any role in the launching of the investigation, while also taking a backhanded slap at the Mueller Report, which recently debunked longstanding claims of collusion between Trump and Russia.
Democrats have claimed—although with little evidence—that despite what some call an unprecedented level of transparency in the report’s release, U.S. Attorney General William Barr felt pressured by the White House to exonerate Trump.
“[W]e don’t use the criminal justice apparatus to play politics.” swiped Cuomo. “It is separate, Mr. President. You have the Justice Department, which acts independently to enforce the laws, and you don’t politicize the justice system, Mr. President—news flash.”
However, Cuomo admitted to being at “loggerheads” with the NRA, both over a specific insurance policy for concealed-carry permit holders that the governor targeted last year, and more generally due to his diverging political views.
“I’ve been at loggerheads with the NRA for more than a year,” he said. “I’ve been at loggerheads with the NRA for about 20 years, for very good reasons. I believe the NRA is counterproductive, not just to the people of this country, but also for legal gun owners. I don’t think they serve gun owners well. They haven’t been constructive. They have been a destructive force in this country for everyone involved.”
Cuomo also touched on a high-profile dispute with Trump about federal tax reforms that raised taxes for many wealthy New Yorkers by capping state and local deductions.
The governor denied that the rate increases fell on his shoulders. In response to the president’s claim that he failed to fight hard enough in the tax debate, Cuomo reiterated an earlier claim that Trump was a liar. “Yeah, well, I also have blonde hair, blue eyes and a little button nose,” he said. “Can you see it, John, my little button nose? Again, the President is divorced from facts.”
The president’s tax overhaul, rather, amounted to “pure politics,” Cuomo griped.
“Fifteen states had their taxes effectively raised by the [state and local tax] deduction … All Democratic states. It’s all politics all the time with him. There is no policy.”