New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday said that comments he made last month about “extreme conservatives” having no place in the state were taken out of context and no one should feel they need to leave the state over their political opinions.
Conservatives — Fox News host Sean Hannity in particular — took umbrage at those comments even though Cuomo’s office clarified that the governor was saying “extreme” conservatives couldn’t win elections in the state, not that they weren’t welcome there.
“I was not saying anyone should leave the state, right? And anyone who heard the comments knows that’s not what I was saying,” Cuomo said at a press conference, as quoted by Politicker.
He added that people “who want to have a political dialogue” elevated his comments into a controversy.
“I wasn’t saying that anyone should leave the state. My position is actually the exact opposite,” he said, as quoted by Politicker. “We have all sorts of opinions in this state. We have people all along the spectrum and it’s one of the things that makes New York special. We can agree to disagree and everyone has a right to an opinion.”
Hannity threatened to move to Florida or Texas in protest, eliciting an epic plea from Jon Stewart and a cast of other New Yorkers for Hannity to please stay put so that they’d have someone to tax. The Fox News host even put his Long Island home on the market amid all that noise about relocating.
So if Cuomo is serious about fostering a diversity of political opinion in New York, now may be the time to join Stewart’s “Stay Mr. Hannity, Stay” chorus.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.