ALBANY — President Donald Trump should apologize to Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in a response to Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.
President Trump called Sen. Harris, D-Calif., a “monster” after Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Harris faced off in the sole 90-minute vice presidential debate Wednesday night moderated by USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
“She was terrible … totally unlikeable,” President Trump said Thursday morning on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria.”
“And, she’s a communist,” he added.
The president repeatedly called Harris a “monster” throughout his interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo, and described her as “the monster who was on stage with Mike Pence.”
“I think the president should apologize to Sen. Harris for calling her a ‘monster,’” Cuomo responded Thursday during a conference call with reporters. “And I think the vice president should call on the president to have him apologize for calling her a monster because it was the vice president’s debate.”
Harris is the first Black woman — as well as the first South Asian woman — to represent a major-party ticket in a general election debate.
Pence has prided himself on good manners and professionalism, Cuomo said, and above petty discourse.
“He was petty and he was ugly and he was insensitive yesterday,” the governor said. “Sen. Harris is a monster? On what basis? What justification to use that word, a ‘monster’? This on a debate after the president made the first debate a disgusting mockery of rudeness and bullying and obnoxiousness. You’d think the vice president would say ‘I want to set a different tone. That’s not my style.' And he calls the first African-American-Asian female to run for vice president a monster. Disgusting.”
President Trump also assailed Gov. Cuomo’s stricter social-distancing, maximum-capacity and mass-gathering rules, including limiting houses of worship to 10 people in the 2.5-mile geographic radius surrounding COVID clusters.
Trump accused Cuomo and state officials during the Fox Business interview early Thursday of closing or limiting certain industries to intentionally harm the economy and impact the upcoming Nov. 3 presidential election.
“The president, once again, is disconnected from reality,” Cuomo said, as the new rules go in effect for two weeks starting Friday, or one virus incubation period, before New York coronavirus task force members reassess the numbers and regulations.
“The president, once again, is either lying, purposely deceiving or ignorant,” the governor continued. “We’re not closing down anything. ... The regulations are in place for two weeks. There’s a calendar — on it has months and weeks and days. Two weeks is not before his election. Two weeks is not after his election.
“So, the president is wrong, which happens to be the norm.”
The governor expressed a depth of sadness Thursday after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Dwyer’s death.
Cuomo visited Dwyer, 63, earlier this week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
“Jim Dwyer was about the discovery of the truth, and he was brilliant,” the governor said before reminiscing about working with the late Newsday and the Daily News reporter. “He was hard-working. He also was a poet. He had a beautiful way of communicating it... the ability to connect with New Yorkers, to take complicated subjects, find the truth, and then communicate it to New Yorkers in a way they understood.
“To say it’s a great loss to journalism is to understate it,” Gov. Cuomo continued. “It’s a great loss to journalism, but he was just a great New Yorker and a powerful voice for many, many years... he’s gone and I miss him, and we’re going to be the weaker for it.”
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.