Governor Andrew Cuomo has been very visible since Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a scathing attack against him on NY1's "Inside City Hall" more than two weeks ago. The governor has been holding a number of high-profile public events, including one today in the city, and Cuomo seems eager to counter arguments that he's lost the support of the progressive base of the party. NY1's Zack Fink filed this report.
After insisting for more than a year and a half that he and Mayor Bill de Blasio are very close friends, Governor Cuomo abruptly changed his tune on Friday.
"We have a professional relationship," said Governor Cuomo. "It's not really a personal, lovey-dovey relationship."
The tension has existed between the state's top two Democrats since before de Blasio even took office, after being elected in 2013. What had largely been anonymous swipes at one another in the press, however, spilled out into the open when de Blasio opted to publicly criticize the governor, saying he has been disappointed at every turn.
On Thursday night, the mayor and the governor were both set to appear at a dinner for Bronx Democrats, but the governor managed to leave just minutes before the mayor arrived.
Some cited the two-ships-in-the-night as a missed opportunity for the two leaders to break bread and work out their differences.
"There is no reason to break bread between me and te mayor," said Cuomo. "I'm sure we will be together when we have a reason to be together."
The governor has been very careful not to criticize the mayor publicly, but he has done at least seven public appearances on de Blasio's turf in New York City over the last two weeks, which, while not unprecedented, is unusual.
Some Democratic insiders said the mayor's broadside put Cuomo on the defensive and made him feel more estranged from the party's liberal base. Cuomo denied he is feeling any distance from fellow Democrats.
"No, I was in a place called Albany for many months," said Cuomo. "What happens is—let me explain to you—there is a legislature that operates from January to June."
Nevertheless, on Friday, the governor was in Breezy Point, a Rockaway community hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Residents there have been frustrated with the pace of Mayor de Blasio's Build It Back program. Some noted it wasn't an accident the governor was here.
"I think Build It Back has been slow," said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. "We've seen a tremendous amount of improvements. Amy Peterson is a huge shot in the arm, but obviously we need to continue to do more work."