ALBANY — A new online ad featuring Gov. Cuomo, celebrities and regular New Yorkers takes aim at President Trump’s policies by preaching tolerance and promoting a new state program that offers legal services to immigrants.
In addition to the governor, the digital ad, paid for by a group made up of Cuomo allies called New Yorkers United Together, features actors Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Fierstein and Edie Falco.
It comes at a time when Cuomo is being mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential Democratic candidate.
Borrowing from Cuomo’s recent speeches, the ad has participants claiming to be things other than what they actually are such as black, white, transgender, gay, straight, Muslim or Jewish to highlight the diversity of the state.
“As a New Yorker, I’m everyone,” Leguizamo says.
“We are New York State and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us — and we will fight back together,” others say in clips spliced together.
The ad never mentions Trump, but it is clearly a response to his policies.
It concludes by touting the Liberty Defense Project, a public/private partnership Cuomo recently announced that will offer pro bono legal services and other resources to immigrants, regardless of their status.
“Fight back for your community, for your New York,” the ad says.
Former Cuomo top aide Steve Cohen says New Yorkers United Together was recently incorporated as a nonprofit to “promote New York as a place of diversity, unity and openness.”
The board consists of himself, public relations guru Ken Sunshine, and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The group plans to raise money to fund its efforts, which other than the digital ad being unveiled this week are still in the planning stages, Cohen and Sunshine said.
“The majority of New Yorkers feel very strongly about immigration issues, and this is an attempt to highlight that,” Sunshine said.
State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox mocked the ad and the group, saying, “Didn’t Andrew get the word? Hillary’s the leader of the resistance, not him.”
State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said that, “Clearly, (Cuomo is) laying the road map for his moving slowly out into the nation as the hope of the liberal and progressive establishment.”
But Cohen and Sunshine denied New Yorkers United Together is designed to help boost Cuomo’s national profile ahead of a potential presidential run.
“The purpose of the group is to highlight issues that New Yorkers really care about,” Sunshine said.
Cohen added that the organization will not operate as a political action committee and will do no lobbying.
“This is about New Yorkers doing what they do best: offering a model of inclusion, acceptance and compassion,” said Cohen, who as Cuomo’s aide once famously said the administration operates at two speeds — “get along and kill.”
For his part, Cuomo has said he is not interested in running for President in 2020 and is instead focused on his reelection in 2018 so he can see through building projects like the reconstruction of LaGuardia Airport that he has started.