Gov. Andrew Cuomo lamented “national unrest” while blasting the Trump administration for “deepening the divisions” among Americans during his inaugural speech on Tuesday night.
“As our nation once confronted a great economic depression, we now confront a great social depression. People’s frustration turning to fear and the fear turning to anger and the anger turning to division,” Cuomo said in an address delivered on Ellis Island.
“This is not the America that lured our ancestors across great oceans to this sacred hall of hope.”
The governor praised the accomplishments of immigrants, comparing the plight of those detained at the Southern border to famous New Yorkers whose grandparents sought refuge at the city’s shores.
“That the promise that attracted five thousand people a day from across the globe to come to this sacred place through this historic portal on Ellis Island is not a faded memory of yesterday but a shining beacon for a better tomorrow,” Cuomo said.
While citing Secretary of State Colin Powell and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Cuomo praised the children of immigrants who settled in New York.
“That what makes New York great is that we will not tolerate hate in our state. Our credo is not only I love New York but New York loves you,” he said.
“That divide and conquer is not our path, we unify and grow. New York has done it again and again throughout history.”
Cuomo also mentioned Richard Cawley and Frederick Trump — the grandfathers of Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump — who came to America through the famous island.
“Ellis Island is real and true and the promise made here lives,” Cuomo said in stark contrast to the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Although Trump’s grandfather was the only mention of the president’s name, Cuomo made obvious broadsides against the administration’s policies.
“This Federal Government has sought to demonize our differences and make our diversity our greatest weakness rather than our greatest strength,” Cuomo said.
“When our Federal Government demonized new immigrants and ripped babies from their mothers’ arms and left them to die on America’s doorstep, New York sued the Federal Government for violating the constitution and welcomed new immigrants by passing the Dream Act.”
Cuomo has previously “ruled out” a 2020 presidential bid, but has cast himself as a national opposition figure to the president.
He ended by calling for unity “in the face of anger and division.”
The governor’s Republican opponent in his reelection campaign, Republican Marc Molinaro, wished the governor success in a tweet Monday night.
Letitia James, the former city public advocate, was also sworn in as the new state attorney general at the Ellis Island event.
James, whose office is empowered to investigate President Trump’s business dealings in the state, never mentioned him during her speech, but said: “I will crack down on public officials who abuse the public trust.”
Additional reporting by Carl Campanile
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