Astorino Continues Call for Christie and Cuomo’s Resignations

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino speaks in front of the The Plaza Hotel on Wednesday

New York — Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Wednesday to deliver a rebuke of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his counterpart in New York, Andrew Cuomo, once again calling on them to resign.

“The public needs to know about this mutual re-election agreement between these two governors.” Astorino said.

Astorino was referring to allegations that Cuomo and Christie helped each other get re-elected, and pointed to Cuomo’s knowledge of the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013, known colloquially as Bridgegate, and Christie’s lack of support for Astorino’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in New York as evidence of their collusion.

In that 2014 campaign, Astorino was the republican nominee, running against Cuomo, the democratic incumbent, and the Westchester county executive claims that Christie, a fellow republican, had initially promised his support, before withdrawing it after a phone call with Cuomo.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino speaks in front of The Plaza Hotel

“After Governor Cuomo’s phone call to Governor Christie, a single telephone call, everything changed. Governor Christie and his staff refused to take our phone calls…” Astorino said, “[and except for a few heated words], Governor Christie and I have not spoken since.”

While Astorino said that he didn’t want to re-litigate the campaign, he did mention that Christie’s actions may have seriously hurt his fundraising efforts, potentially making the difference in an election that Cuomo won by a smaller margin than expected.

“The deal between these two men is so patently obvious, that Governor Cuomo insults the intelligence of every New Yorker by pretending that these events never played out.” asserted Asotrino.

And Astorino isn’t wrong in that assertion.

“I would feel a bit insulted if this turned out to be true.” said Victoria Smalley, 28, who lives in Manhattan and voted for Cuomo in 2014. “Why do politicians always think they can get away with these kinds of things?”

But others, like Matthew Evans, were more skeptical of Astorino’s motives.

“He is only doing this to get some publicity so that he can run for governor again.” said Evans.

That does appear to be some of the motivation for Astorino to call for the governor’s resignation, as he held the press conference in the middle of Grand Army Plaza, just outside The Plaza Hotel on 5th Ave and Central Park South, in the middle of the day, clearly hoping to generate interest among passersby.

It remains to be seen how much attention Astorino will be able to garner with his crusade against the New Jersey and New York Governors, especially with the presidential election taking up so much of each news cycle.

In the meantime, it is unlikely that either Governor Christie or Governor Cuomo will step down, although both of their administrations have been wracked by scandals.

While Christie has had to deal with the fallout of Bridgegate, US Attorney for the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara has brought criminal charges against 9 of Christie’s top aids and donors for corruption in the administration’s economic development initiatives.

“The bottom line,” said Astorino, “is that Governor Cuomo agreed to look the other way on Bridgegate…to help Governor Christie get reelected, and beginning just three weeks after relection, the RGA chairman, Christie, began repaying that favor to Governor Cuomo by cutting off potential money to our campaign, and by appearing with Cuomo multiple times in the fall of 2014.”

Astorino finished up by saying that, “In a courtroom right now in New Jersey, some of this is coming to light, and that light needs to be shined constantly so the American public can see just how rigged the system can be, by those who are trying to cling to power.”