One subplot that’s emerged since Donald Trump’s surprise electoral college win on Nov. 8th, securing his place as the president-elect, is how deep-blue states under decidedly liberal governance have responded to the incoming administration.
Some major American cities like San Francisco and Seattle have already indicated their intention to defy Trump’s pledge to withhold federal money from so-called “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants, and California Gov. Jerry Brown made it clear just days after the election that the state wouldn’t stop fighting on climate change, either.
And you can now add New York—Trump’s home state, it must be noted—to the list of states that are gearing up for years of hostilities with Trump and his team. At least, that’s how Gov. Andrew Cuomo made things sound in a Sunday morning tweetstorm, in tandem with his appearance at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
The upshot is that Cuomo is promising to protect immigrants within the state and to assert a civic awareness about the responsibilities New Yorkers should hold for human rights and common decency. Here’s how he put it on his Twitter timeline, although clearly a staffer was tasked with actually sending the tweets—he was in front of the Abyssinian congregation at the time, delivering these remarks in person.
I come here today with a heavy heart. The ugly political discourse didn't end on Election Day, and it's challenged our very identity.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
NY has a special responsibility: we must stand up and tell this country what it means to be an American. We are one nation, under God. pic.twitter.com/EVVlSSEE7a— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
I will propose this January to expand the Human Rights Law, to specifically protect every child in every school, both public and private.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
I will be sending a letter to every college student explaining their rights and responsibilities as citizens of New York.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
We will be putting together a legal defense fund to provide immigrants who can’t afford their own defense – the legal assistance they need.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
The answer is not to fight your neighbor for their piece of the pie – the answer is to grow the economic pie for all.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
We don't care the color of your skin or how much money you have in your pocket – if you accept the American ideal, we will work with you.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
The separation is a poison, and it has to stop now.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 20, 2016
New York is going to lead the way.
Beyond the unifying rhetoric (except, presumably, for any New Yorkers who backed Trump, or those who are keen on the rise of anti-immigrant belligerence in American politics), Cuomo teased a few actual policy proposals. Namely, a special force of the state police to address a reported increase in hate crimes, an expansion of the state’s Human Rights Law, and the formation of a legal defense fund for immigrants who otherwise couldn’t afford to defend themselves.
There’s also the letter Cuomo intends to send to all New York college students, although it’s yet unclear what precisely it will say about their “rights and responsibilities.”
The video above is Cuomo’s full remarks at the church, in the event that you’d rather watch or listen to his remarks. Needless to say, he’s taking an active posture of resistance against the kind of administration that Trump has promised all along.
And indeed, with the recent additions of Steve Bannon as senior strategist and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, both men accused of racism and anti-immigrant zeal throughout their careers, it’s the kind of administration that Trump seems to be actively putting together.