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De Blasio and I Worked 'Hand in Glove' After Chelsea Bombing: Cuomo

By Jeff Mays | September 20, 2016 6:12pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo tour the area affected by the Chelsea bomb explosion on Sunday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo tour the area affected by the Chelsea bomb explosion on Sunday.
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Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he and Mayor Bill de Blasio "worked hand in glove" during the Chelsea bombing crisis even though they were hardly seen together and gave separate press conferences where they differed on whether the blast was an act of terrorism.

The day after Saturday night's bombing it looked like Cuomo and de Blasio weren't going to appear together at all and that their longstanding public feud would seep into yet another public crisis as it had, for example, during the deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Still, they managed to tour the blast site together for a bit — in between the separate press conferences they held. And before that tour, they hugged. 

"I don't think you could have had better coordination between the city and the state than you had here," Cuomo said Tuesday on CNN. "The President, the federal government was fantastic, the FBI, we all worked hand in glove, and the city and the state, and myself and the mayor."

Councilman Corey Johnson, who represents the affected area and met with the mayor and the governor during their tour, said everything looked fine between the two.

"It seemed hunky dory. They were joking, laughing, hugging, shaking hands, communicating with each other and everyone they encountered," Johnson said. "I didn't sense any conflict or hostility."

Representatives for Cuomo and de Blasio have said that the city and state were in constant contact after the blast and during the investigation.

The mayor was invited to tour the subway with the governor and de Blasio said Cuomo was invited to Monday's press conference at One Police Plaza with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Assistant FBI Director William Sweeney Jr. where they discussed Ahmad Khan Rahami's capture.

Neither attended each other's event, though.

Asked why Cuomo was not present, de Blasio said: "You can ask his team about that."

Johnson said officials from both the city and state provided him with regular and timely updates.

But would a joint press conference have made his constituents feel better?

"They in some ways hold different roles and they were both trying to show leadership in a moment of crisis," said Johnson. "Their appearance together Sunday walking the scene and meeting with residents was both symbolic and important to the area."

But even after their joint appearance it didn't appear that Cuomo and de Blasio were on the same page.

De Blasio was still being cautious about labeling the bombing a terrorist act on Sunday.

The mayor said there was not enough information to call it a terrorist act.

Cuomo, on the other hand, immediately called the blast a terrorist act.

By Monday morning, de Blasio said the facts were "leaning" toward the bombing being an act of terrorism. By the afternoon, he said: "Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror."

The governor explained the discrepancy by saying that he believed the mayor was talking about international terrorism and later added that the discrepancy was simply semantics.

Cuomo, on Tuesday, sought to put the controversy to rest saying "those are just words," when asked to explain the difference between his and the mayor's characterization of the bombing.

"We worked hand in glove," he said. "You couldn't have worked better than we worked together."