Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino is facing criticism for comparing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s involvement in an anti-corruption probe to a “mafia boss” making “an offer you can’t refuse.”
Astorino, who like Cuomo is of Italian descent, made the comment during a campaign stop in Syracuse today. He ripped Cuomo for top aide Larry Schwartz’ role in temporarily halting subpoenas to Cuomo allies from the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel Cuomo launched last year and abruptly halted in March.
“To suggest that he was suggesting to the commission members where they should go with an investigation is like a mafia boss coming forward and saying he wants to make a suggestion, an offer he can’t refuse,” Astorino said, according to WRVO’s Ryan Delaney. “That is clearly intimidation.”
Soon after, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, a Cuomo ally, issued a statement knocking Astorino for the comment.
“Mr. Astornio’s continued attempts to grab a headline have reached an all-time low,” Morelle said in a statement. “His comments are insulting and degrading to both the Governor and a state that boasts a proud Italian-American heritage.”
Morelle’s comment was followed by a statement from the Order Sons of Italy in America, which said it is “appalled and outraged” by Astorino’s comment.
According to TWC News’ Capital Tonight, Astorino noted his own Italian heritage when asked about the remark.
“It’s a typical joke,” Astorino said. “I’ve got an offer you can’t refuse, right? He’s saying he made an offer to help. I think they would say that’d be intimidation. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was a direct threat or an order to do that.”