Cynthia Nixon calls Cuomo 'Andrew the Bully,' compares him to Trump

Actress announces candidacy for NY governor
Actress announces candidacy for NY governor

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(CNN)In her first trip to New York's capital since announcing her gubernatorial campaign, actress Cynthia Nixon on Monday called her primary opponent Governor Andrew Cuomo a "bully" who reminds her of President Donald Trump.

"We've all seen it -- Andrew The Bully. He bullies other elected officials, he bullies anyone who criticizes him," Nixon said at a press conference at the Hilton Albany. "It reminds me of the behavior we see from Donald Trump every day. My experience has taught me that there's only one way to deal with a bully. You have to stand up to him. You have to send a loud, clear message that you will not be bullied."
The press conference was organized by the Alliance for Quality Education, a group that Nixon has long been associated with that advocates for more state funding for schools.
    "I've come to Albany mad as hell about Republicans, and I've come to Albany mad as hell about Democrats," she added.
    Nixon's comments are the latest in a string of barbs she's hurled at Cuomo since announcing her campaign on March 19. Nixon, who is best known for her role in "Sex and the City," on Monday cast Cuomo as someone who has caved to Republicans in the state. She also called the group of lawmakers huddling with Cuomo over the budget this week -- State Senator Jeff Klein and State Senator John J. Flanagan -- an "old boys club," and criticized their lack of inclusion of female lawmakers.
    "Governor Cuomo will walk out of that room and do what he always does, promise big, get some headlines, and ultimately hand over all the power to his buddies in the Republican senate," she said. "It's all scripted. He deserves an Oscar for his performance. Some may say his lack of acting experience makes him unqualified, but I actually think he's doing pretty well. It just goes to show you what a novice can do if they put their mind to it."
    A Cuomo aide hit back, listing accomplishments over his seven years in office, including paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage, marriage equality, raising the age of criminal responsibility -- and the SAFE Act, which requires universal background checks to buy a gun.
    A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Nixon's "bully" attack.
    After making her remarks at the Hilton Albany, Nixon, who has made education one of her key issues in her campaign, held a roundtable discussion with public school parents to talk about the conditions their students face.
    It's been a busy week for both Nixon and Cuomo. Both candidates participated in Saturday's March For Our Lives in New York City, Nixon with her son and Cuomo with his daughter, Maria.
    On Sunday, Cuomo raised eyebrows when he suggested Jewish people can't dance during his Palm Sunday remarks at a Baptist Church in Harlem.
    "I am not a member of your church, I want you to know, as a matter of full disclosure. I am a Catholic. Catholics basically believe the same teachings that Baptists believe. We just do it without the rhythm," Cuomo said, to laughter. "But we try, we try. We are not as without rhythm as some of our Jewish brothers and sisters."
    Cuomo pointed to Hank Sheinkopf in the audience, a Democratic consultant, who is Jewish, saying, "I was just watching Mr. Sheinkopf here in the front row moving to the music -- it was ugly, it was ugly, I'll tell you that."
    "He was clearly poking fun at himself and one long time friend who was in the audience," said Dani Lever, press secretary for Cuomo.
    Sheinkopf, who is also a Rabbi, told CNN he was "not offended at all" by Cuomo's comment.
    "The people in the church thought it was funny, some people were offended," Sheinkopf said. "Andrew Cuomo has been supportive of the things I believe in -- I don't believe that there was anything ill-intended here."
    CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the office that Nixon is seeking.
    CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly identify the lawmakers Nixon was referring to as part of the "old boys club."