- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about President Donald Trump’s tweets on Tuesday’s terror attack.
- He said they were unhelpful.
- In one of Trump’s Wednesday tweets, he wrote: “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called President Donald Trump’s tweetstorm on the New York City terror attack unhelpful.
Cuomo, speaking at a press conference alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and law enforcement officials, said the president was not handling the aftermath of the attack appropriately.
“The president’s tweets I think were not helpful,” he said. “I don’t think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation.”
After tweeting his “thoughts, condolences, and prayers, to the victims and families” of the attack on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he was asking the Department of Homeland Security to ramp up its “Extreme Vetting Program.”
“Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” he said.
Then on Wednesday morning, Trump went after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, for an immigration program known as the Diversity Visa Program. That program was created in a bill that Schumer, as a House representative, introduced in 1990. But in 2013, as a member of the Gang of Eight on immigration, Schumer helped craft a proposal that would have scrapped it. That legislation passed the Senate but was never brought up for a vote in the House.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty,” he tweeted. “I want merit based.”
“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends,” he added.
The man accused of killing eight people Tuesday when he rammed a rented pickup truck down a lower Manhattan bicycle path came into the US as a part of the program, Homeland Security said. Police identified him as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant originally from Uzbekistan who arrived in the US in 2010. Saipov left a note that said he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, police said.
“It was referring back to an immigration system that dealt with a lottery, and blaming people who passed that immigration policy,” Cuomo said of Trump’s Twitter storm. “His tweet wasn’t even accurate, as far as I’m concerned. That was a bipartisan law that was passed that had basically no relevance to the facts of the situation.”
“As I said before, you play into the hands of the terrorists to the extent that you disrupt and divide and frighten people in this society and the tone now should be the exact opposite, by all officials on all levels,” he continued. “This is about unification. This is about solidarity. This is about normalization. This is about protection. And the last thing it’s about is politics, period.”
Trump, in a meeting with Cabinet officials shortly after Cuomo’s press conference, doubled down on his earlier remarks, saying “we have to get much less politically correct” and adding that Democrats “don’t want to do what’s right for our country.
Pointing to the diversity lottery program, Trump said “diversity sounds nice.”
“It’s not nice,” he said. “It’s not good.”
Watch Cuomo’s comments below:
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