Don't mess with Governor Andrew Cuomo—that's Mayor de Blasio's warning for the governor's Republican challenger. De Blasio says Rob Astorino has crossed the line and is being offensive with a reference to "The Godfather" movie that the mayor says is a slur against Italian-Americans. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
The mayor's Italian pride is well known.
Bill de Blasio says the Republican candidate for governor is wounding that pride, comparing Governor Andrew Cuomo to a mafia don.
"Inappropriate in every way. I found it particularly inappropriate as an Italian American," de Blasio said.
"It" is what Rob Astorino said Monday. He has been going after Cuomo on ethics charges.
Cuomo's accused of blocking the anti-corruption Moreland Commission from investigating political allies.
Cuomo replies he was merely advising them.
Astorino doesn't buy it.
"To suggest that he was suggesting to the commission members where they should go with an investigation is like a mafia boss coming forward and saying that he wants to make a suggestion, an offer you can't refuse," Astorino said.
"I thought it was a horrible invocation of a very horrible stereotype," de Blasio said.
"Give me a break," Astorino said in response.
Astorino responded in an event on Long Island.
"I mean seriously, I quoted one of the most famous lines from one of the most famous movies in the history of film, and it's—the phony indignation has got tp just stop," Astorino said.
Cuomo hasn't responded personally to the reference to "The Godfather."
The mayor only chimed in after he was asked about Cuomo's alleged interference in the commission.
On that front, the mayor didn't defend Cuomo because, as he said, "I haven't focused on the Moreland Commission. It's not something I know a lot about."
Cuomo and de Blasio have known each other for two decades, but the real drama in their relationship dates to the time since the mayor was sworn in on New Year's day.
De Blasio's request for more funding for schools drummed up tension between the pair when Cuomo refused his request for higher taxes.
"Let the millionaires of every city pay for the pre-K. Well, that's not going to work," Cuomo said earlier this year.
The pair are cordial again, with de Blasio helping the governor with his re-election amid skepticism Cuomo isn't liberal enough.