New York’s mayor and governor overcame their mutual loathing on Tuesday to denounce terrorism in the wake of a shocking attack on civilians that has left at least eight dead.
Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo joined representatives of the city’s first responders on Tuesday afternoon after an unidentified man plowed a truck into cyclists and pedestrians before reportedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.
Speaking on the incident, Cuomo – flanked by De Blasio, promised that the evening’s Halloween parade would go on, and that the public should ‘Be New Yorkers – live your life and don’t let them deter us in any manner shape or form.’
But this union will be short lived, as the two Democrats loathe one another.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio (center) and Governor Andrew Cuomo overcame their mutual loathing to call for solidarity among New Yorkers Tuesday
They spoke up after this man – reportedly Sayfullo Saipov, 29 – allegedly drove into crowds of civilians, killing at least eight and injuring many more
Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, reportedly drove through civilians over a series of blocks from Houston Street to Chambers Street where he struck a school bus, just blocks from Ground Zero.
He then allegedly got out of the truck wielding paintball and pellet guns before being shot and arrested by a police officer.
Two children and two adults on the bus have been hospitalized; no others on the bus were hurt. Six people died at the scene and two more died in hospital.
De Blasio said that ‘Based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror’ that targeted unaware civilians.
‘This attack was intended to break our spirit,’ he continued, ‘but we also know that New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient, and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence, an act meant to intimidate us.’
He then introduced Cuomo, offered similar thoughts, saying that the victims ‘left the house this morning, they were enjoying the beautiful West Side of Manhattan on a beautiful Fall day.
‘They and they are not going to return and the shock and the pain is going to be very real.’
As well as the eight killed, several – including at least two children – have been hospitalized.
Cuomo went on to say that the attack was likely caused by the ‘lone wolf’ attacked called for by ISIS.
De Blasio and Cuomo were once friends, but they represent different Democrat philosophies – Cuomo is business friendly; De Blasio backed Occupy Wall Street – and they fell out
The truck mounted the bicycle path on the West Side Highway a few blocks north of Chambers Street in Tribeca in lower Manhattan
Both he and Be Blasio promised that New Yorkers would see more police, including heavy arms units, throughout the next few days, including ramped up protection for the Halloween Parade to take place on Tuesday night.
Sayfullo Saipov, 29, a citizen of Uzbekistan who lives in Florida, has been named as the driver by inside sources. Police have not yet officially named him
That was only out of ‘an abundance of caution,’ Cuomo said, and not an indication that any other attacks are actually expected.
To see the governor and mayor side by side should not be a surprise, given the nature of the attack.
But their conference would have been even more uncomfortable for the pair, given that the Democrat politicians have a long-standing hatred of one another.
Once, they were friends – to the extent that when Cuomo was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), he selected De Blasio to run the New York-New Jersey office of HUD, Vice reported.
But as the years wound on, a divide opened up between them that reflects the two main halves of the modern Democratic party.
Cuomo represented the business-focused, millionaire-friendly wing of the Democrat party; De Blasio pushed a more egalitarian, anti-status-quo philosophy.
He even marched with Occupy Wall Street, which had criticized Cuomo for his reticence in backing a millionaire’s tax.
On his election in 2013, De Blasio proposed free kindergarten in the five boroughs, to be paid for using a tax on the wealthy.
Cuomo immediately attacked it, saying it would scare off wealthy New Yorkers; his alternative, partial state funding was untenable, De Blasio said.
Cuomo ultimately signed off on a bigger state fund for the kindergartens, but the following year he reneged on an agreement to help flip the state senate to the Democrats in exchange for De Blasio backing a third party.
They then butted heads repeatedly over the coming years.
The driver of a truck which mowed down seven people on the West Side Highway bike path on Tuesday afternoon is pictured after emerging from the vehicle with a fake firearm in his hand
The rented Home Depot truck which plowed through cyclists and runners on a bicycle path on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon. Its driver was shot in the leg by police and is in hospital
De Blasio was accused of having ‘blood on his hands’ by the NYPD in 2015 after he talked about his own interracial kids’ experiences with racism following controversy over the shooting of black suspects; Cuomo remained quiet.
The same year, Cuomo shut down New York’s subways during a blizzard without telling De Blasio.
Early the following year, Cuomo demanded that the state’s substantial homeless population be moved into shelters in sub-zero weather.
His aide said that it was inspired by the city’s substantial homeless population; De Blasio and his staff groused that the NYPD and local authorities did that anyway – and said Cuomo’s command didn’t offer any money or help in continuing the job.
And in October a state ethics panel focused on De Blasio’s political nonprofit organization and served a subpoena on City Hall demanding information on donors, funds and workers.
Since then, their war has turned very public.
On the subject of the state’s subway funding, Cuomo complained in August that the city didn’t pay enough while De Blasio told reporters that Cuomo is ‘responsible. It’s clear. Just take ownership and fix the problem.’
That same month, De Blasio offered a solution, once more proposing a tax on the very rich to pay for it.
A woman is seen being treated by paramedics at the scene of the attack in Tribeca, downtown Manhattan, on Tuesday
Medical bags are seen being transported to the scene of the crash where several people were run down over a string of blocks by a Home Depot truck
Cuomo – once more in the sticky situation of putting populism against his business-friendly politics – has said such an idea would have to wait until after November, when De Blasio runs for re-election.
Even on the subject of a deer, the pair fell out. After the animal strayed into Harlem’s Jackie Robinson Park in 2016, Cuomo offered to help relocate it, the New York Times reported.
That went against state rules of not paying for city wildlife concerns, but he said it was needed ‘because acceptable release sites are not available and because the poor chances for deer survival do not warrant the risks.’
De Blasio said the deer wouldn’t survive relocation and should be put down, but eventually gave in after Cuomo took to Twitter to demand ‘everything’ be done to ‘save the Harlem deer’.
‘Bureaucracy lost’ Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, responded on on Twitter.
Bill Hyers, who managed De Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign, was more abrupt: ‘Andrew Cuomo is an idiot,’ he said.