For a Day, de Blasio and Cuomo Have a Public Truce


Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo miss few opportunities to tout their decades-long friendship.

But their relationship has often resembled one in need of therapy, as Cuomo has repeatedly blocked key components of de Blasio’s agenda, while the mayor grimly took it. However, in recent days, de Blasio showed rare flashes of temper, swiping back at Cuomo’s criticism of the mayor’s affordable housing plan in the final days of the state’s legislative session, calling the governor “disingenuous” and questioning his commitment to helping the less fortunate.

But then, as soon as it began, de Blasio’s moment of public pique appears to have passed.

On Monday, he put away his suddenly sharp elbows, saying that he and Cuomo had “clarifying conversations” and had found “common ground” on a number of issues currently being debated by the state Legislature, even though neither man appeared to shift any policy positions. He singled out Cuomo’s support for the extension of mayoral control of the city’s school system, even though the governor has held that position for months.

Cuomo may have extended the first olive branch in a radio interview Monday hours before de Blasio’s news conference, saying his fellow Democrat is “a tough advocate and I wouldn’t respect him if he wasn’t. I’ve known him 30 years; he’s a personal friend.”

“Our personal relationship is not an issue,” Cuomo continued. “Bill and I are going to be friends after these jobs are over. That is not to say that I am not going to fight like a Trojan for what I believe.”

The mayor downplayed the weekend he spent fighting back against Cuomo, his would-be ally who often has played the part of a bully more than 20 years after they worked together in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“[It was] in the vein of ‘I call them like I see them,’” said de Blasio. “And I’m someone who’s always looking for a constructive way forward, so I’ll speak my mind in each occasion.”

And as the feud cooled, at least temporarily, one interested party did not say which way his wind was blowing.

“I like them both,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, laughing at the question during a lobbying trip to Albany. “I get along with them both.”