ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo opened a diplomatic meeting in Puerto Rico on Tuesday with some remarks that weren't so diplomatic to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the federal government, or even the executive mansion in Albany.
Cuomo referred to his invited delegation of city, state and federal officials as "the New York Dream Team," which includes "the top city officials from New York." De Blasio, however, wasn't there because Cuomo hadn't invited him. The two top Democrats in the state have been feuding in recent months.
Cuomo opened the meeting with humor, and his standup diplomacy riffed on his counterpart's digs on San Juan Bay, according to an audio recording of the remarks.
"I had the great pleasure of being able to stay in La Fortaleza last night," Cuomo told Puerto Rico's top leaders, including Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla.
"I want him to know, on a personal level, I am very jealous that he has a La Fortaleza and I do not have a La Fortaleza," Cuomo said of the palatial 16th century fort turned mansion.
"Luckily, there are members of my legislature here today," Cuomo joked. "I hope they were moved by the impact of La Fortaleza and don't want to see their governor embarrassed, and therefore when we get back to New York, I'm sure they are going to acquire a residence for me that is so much similar."
Cuomo already has a free residence. The governor's mansion in Albany was recently called "The Empire State's groovy mansion" by the Movoto real estate blog and the 10th largest among the 44 states that offer mansions to their governors.
The state's website brags that the mansion is "eclectic in style, filled with history and rich with tradition. It remains a fitting symbol of the variety and greatness of the Empire State." The 20,000-square-foot home has been valued at $2 million.
Cuomo, however, spends most of his nights in the Westchester County mansion he shares with his longtime girlfriend, food TV star Sandra Lee.
On Tuesday, Cuomo also criticized the federal government at the roundtable, which included some congressional members in his delegation.
"I don't believe the federal government has been fair to Puerto Rico," Cuomo said. "I don't think you've gotten the attention you deserve from the federal government."
He said more Americans know more about the fiscal crisis in Greece than the fiscal crisis in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which was the stated reason for Cuomo's two-day trip.