New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he told President Trump during a phone call this week that federal involvement to quell the surge in violence in New York City was not necessary and could be “managed by the state,” while acknowledging that he, too, is “concerned” about the increase in crime.
During a conference call on Wednesday, Cuomo said that he spoke to the president on Tuesday, who had said he was considering sending federal agents to New York.
“I spoke to the president about it. I said I was also concerned about the increase in crime in New York City,” Cuomo explained. “I also said that, at this point, I think that the situation can be managed by the state. Totally prepared to do that.”
Cuomo said he told the president that there was “no need” for federal involvement, but that if the federal government “had concerns about federal assets that need to be protected,” he is “more than willing to protect any federal asset.”
Cuomo added: “We left the conversation at if the president had additional concerns, we would talk before he took any action.”
Cuomo explained that Trump expressed “concern” about crime in New York City.
“People in New York are concerned about crime. The state is willing and able to do what it needs to do,” Cuomo said, while noting that it “falls under the jurisdiction of the state.”
“The city is a creature of state law, and the state understands the Constitution of the United States,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s comments come just hours after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to sue the Trump administration should federal assets be sent into the city to help ease the unrest.
De Blasio, during a press conference Wednesday, said that the federal government seems “fixated” on intervention in the city when city officials do not want the help.
“All over the country, people are distressed but he president’s deep, unwavering desire to send agents all over the country where they are not needed,” de Blasio said, calling it “unproductive.”
De Blasio went on to slam federal intervention in cities like Portland, Ore., as “unconstitutional.”
“It’s dangerous,” de Blasio said, noting that the administration is setting a “dangerous precedent of sending in federal officials” and “doing work they should not be doing.”
“We can’t allow it here in New York City or anywhere else,” he continued. “I want to be very, very clear, that we will not allow this to happen.”
De Blasio said he sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General Bill Barr “making clear” that the presence of federal officers is “not welcome here.”
“We are New Yorkers and we won’t take lightly if we see federal officers in New York City,” he said. “If we do, we’ll be in court.”
De Blasio’s comments come as President Trump has threatened federal intervention in cities across the nation seeing a spike in violent crime and unrest in recent weeks and months.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday slammed de Blasio, and cited a “600 percent surge in violence” in the city, while offering federal support.
“De Blasio seems to have not a hard time criticizing police officers, but an awfully hard time controlling the streets of New York City,” she said.
Last week, Trump likened Democrat-led cities to “war zones,” while hinting federal intervention could be coming.
The president said that the “left-wing group of people that are running cities are not doing the job they’re supposed to be doing.”
Meanwhile, Trump is expected to announce an expansion of the Justice Department’s “Operation Legend” program being run out of Kansas City. Trump, later Wednesday, is slated to announce that the operation will extend to Chicago and Albuquerque.