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Conservatives must drop Trump over video, says Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters,

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday said Republican and Conservative party leaders in New York should dissociate themselves from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after lewd comments Trump made about women in 2005 surfaced in a video.

The chairmen of the state Republican and Conservative parties, the leader of the Senate’s majority and a one-time GOP nominee for governor refused to drop Trump on Monday.

“What he said, that video, is so disgusting, frankly,” Cuomo told reporters, “and what I’m saying to all New Yorkers, Democrat and Republican, is it’s not about politics. It’s a statement of values and it’s a statement of character and it’s a statement of what we will accept and not accept, and New Yorkers will not accept discrimination or sexism.

“We demand that everyone be treated with respect and I think it’s time for Republican leaders to stop playing this game of, ‘Well, I don’t like the comments, but I support him,’ ” Cuomo said after the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan.

“You can’t have it both ways. It’s a black-and-white issue. They should stand up and say, ‘I am a Republican, but I am a New Yorker first and I will have nothing to do with degradation of women.’ . . . And if they don’t, they are going to have to answer to the women of this state. . . . This was insulting to people of every political stripe across the spectrum.”

The Democrat’s recommendation was roundly rejected by the state GOP and Conservative parties and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who continue to endorse Trump.

“Senator Flanagan has made clear that Donald Trump’s recent comments are offensive and intolerable, and do not represent his values or those of the men and women of the Senate Republican Conference,” said Flanagan spokesman Scott Rief on Monday.

“I certainly do not condone the comments by Mr. Trump,” said Michael Long, chairman of the state Conservative Party, in an interview. Trump “apologized to his family, he apologized and said he was embarrassed. He said that again on TV last night.”

Trump said during the second presidential debate that he was sorry for the comments on a 2005 videotape in which he bragged about groping women and saying his fame allowed him to “do anything” to them.

“I’ll accept the apology even though I disagree and am very uncomfortable with what he said, and the party will continue to support him,” Long said. “It’s up to the voters now to say if they forgive him or not.”

Long noted that Cuomo never apologized for his 2014 comments that “extremists” opposed to his SAFE Act gun control law have no place in New York.

“It’s either his way or the highway,” Long said of Cuomo.

Shortly after The Washington Post first reported on the video, state Republican chairman Ed Cox condemned Trump’s comments, but continued to support the candidate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I condemn his comments and he was right to immediately apologize,” Cox said in a statement Monday. “Above all, the American people judge their president and candidates on actions, policies and what they will do to make American lives better.”

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the 2014 GOP nominee for governor, who is considering another run, also hasn’t dropped Trump.

“He was right to apologize,” Astorino said in a statement. “As a father of two daughters and a son, I don’t want them to think this is acceptable from anyone.”

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