Gov. Cuomo Backs Keeping Columbus Statue in NYC

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -
The Christopher Columbus statue is shown at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Breaking with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he is in favor of keeping a prominent Christopher Columbus statue that has been suggested for review by a commission examining items deemed “symbols of hate” on New York City property.

Cuomo, who like de Blasio and Columbus is of Italian heritage, said he’s not disputing that the explorer did harm to the Native American population. But the Democrat said the statue at Columbus Circle “is really about honoring Italian-Americans” and their contributions to New York.

De Blasio recently announced the commission, which could recommend removing some monuments. Democratic City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has said the Columbus statue should be removed.

The spat is one of many between the governor and the mayor. Asked if he would endorse de Blasio’s reelection bid in two months, Cuomo says he isn’t endorsing his fellow Democrat because the governor doesn’t live in the city.

“I don’t vote in the primary election. I’m a Westchester resident,” Cuomo, whose home is in New Castle, told reporters at the West Indian-American Day Parade. “I’m not voting in this election, so I don’t have any primary endorsements at this time.”

De Blasio campaign spokeswoman Monica Klein retorted that the mayor’s camp “didn’t ask for his support.”

Meanwhile, a new Siena poll released Tuesday suggests Cuomo’s favorability ratings are inching upward after a tough summer. About 56 percent of respondents gave him a favorable rating, up from 52 percent in July. Thirty-seven percent gave the governor an unfavorable rating, down from 41 percent in the last Siena poll.

New Yorkers are split over renaming the new Tappan Zee Bridge after Cuomo’s father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. Forty-four percent support the new name while 42 percent oppose the idea.