President Donald Trump

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Trump Dares Cuomo To Run Against Him In 2020; Cuomo Dismisses Remark

August 14, 2018 - 11:53 am

UTICA, N.Y. (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump this week dared Gov. Andrew Cuomo to challenge him in 2020 — and warned the Democrat, "Anybody that runs against Trump suffers."

Trump also said that Cuomo once called him and promised that he wouldn't run against him — a claim that Cuomo's office did not immediately dispute.

The challenge came as Trump delivered remarks at a fundraising event for Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is running for re-election. The upstate Utica visit marked Trump's first as president to an area he won in 2016.

Trump, a native of Queens, spent much of the event attacking his home-state governor as well as Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is also thought to have White House ambitions.

Trump said Cuomo, who is running for re-election against "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon, called him and told him, "I'll never run for president against you."

"But maybe he wants to," Trump went on, adding: "Oh, please do it. Please. Please. He did say that. Maybe he meant it. The one thing we know — and they do say — anybody that runs against Trump suffers. That's the way it should be."

Trump, who flirted with a gubernatorial run before setting his eyes on the White House, argued that New York could have the lowest taxes in the nation if Cuomo had allowed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state and claimed Cuomo "wants to take away your Second Amendment."

"It's very sad to see what's happened with New York," he said. "This could have been Boomtown, U.S.A."

Cuomo addressed Trump’s remarks on Tuesday. He said he doesn't have “personal political conversations” with Trump.

Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday that he remains focused on running for re-election. He detailed his many political disagreements with the president and said he and Trump have spoken about policy.

He stopped short of fully refuting Trump's account, but a spokesman later said Cuomo's comments were meant as a denial.

Earlier, Cuomo on Twitter defended his position on gun rights.

"Donald Trump & the NRA - bankrupt bedfellows: literally and morally," he tweeted. "Unlike Trump, I'm not afraid to take on the NRA."

His office also released a lengthy statement ahead of Trump's arrival “welcoming” Trump back to New York and accusing Trump of having "forgotten what made this country great."

"Despite being a native New Yorker, since you took office, you have attacked our healthcare, passed a tax law that punished New York in order to fund corporate tax cuts, ripped immigrant New Yorkers from their families, launched an assault on our environment, and undermined the basic values on which this state and this nation were built," he said.

Cuomo wrote that while in Utica, Trump should “meet with the immigrants and refugees who are breathing new life into the city, which has a higher proportion of immigrants than any other city in upstate New York.” Cuomo also urged Trump to visit Seneca Falls, where women first fought for equal rights, while accusing Trump’s administration of “ongoing attacks on women.”

Continuing with the theme, Cuomo urged Trump to visit Westchester County, where the governor said jobs are on the rise despite Trump’s “punitive” tax policies “are directly responsible for home sales dropping 18 percent.” Cuomo also singled out Buffalo – where he said an economic renaissance is under way without the involvement of tariffs or the resurrection of dead industries; and beaches of Long Island – which the governor said are threatened by the Trump administration’s proposal to drill oil offshore from New York.

"Mr. President, I urge you to visit the Statue of Liberty in our harbor to remember the American promise made to your grandfather when he first came to this country as an immigrant—the promise of equality, hope and opportunity for all,’ Cuomo wrote. “Perhaps then you will remember what made this country great."

As for Gillibrand, Trump called her "a puppet" of New York's other Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer.

"She's been up to my office looking for campaign contributions. And she's very aggressive on contributions, but she's not very aggressive on getting things done," Trump said.

Gillibrand responded by Twitter: "The President refuses to acknowledge the work I've gotten done. Sound familiar, ladies?"

Trump's fundraising events are usually closed to reporters, but this time White House staff allowed the small group of journalists traveling with the president inside, giving Trump a broader platform for his remarks.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)