New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is citing the influence of President Trump’s rhetoric in his condemnation of a recent spate of violence that involved rowdy members of the far-right Proud Boys organization.
CBS News reports that Cuomo addressed the Manhattan brawl in a conference call with reporters on Sunday, October 14. In his response to one particular fight that was captured in a video — one that has since gone viral — Cuomo questioned the Metropolitan Republican Club’s judgment in inviting Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes to speak. McInnes’ followers have somewhat of a reputation for clashing with Antifa activists.
Considering that McInnes had been just re-enacted the memetic murder of a Japanese socialist, as Bedford and Bowery report, the governor reportedly told reporters that he believes the entire event to have been a “vile” provocation. Cuomo went so far as to lay blame on the president for spurring such mobs into seeking out conflict.
“This is Trump at his worst. It is wholly consistent with everything he has done since he started running for president,” The New York Times quotes Governor Cuomo as stating on the call. “Once you unleash hate and division and you demonize differences, you lose control of it. You can’t target it. It’s lighting a match in a field of dry grass. The wind takes it and it just takes off,” he said.
Three people were arrested as a result of at least two melees that authorities believe to have broken out in the vicinity of 83rd Street at around 2:00 a.m. on Friday.
Proud Boys members have been on the defensive, claiming that they were only reacting to acts of agitation brought upon them by Antifa agitators. While there indeed had been criminal reports filed for vandalism at the site of the club in the days leading up to McInnes’s appearance, video of the attack appears to show about a dozen Proud Boys members acting aggressively throughout the situation. They chase down and beat their outnumbered counterparts.
Governor Cuomo says that he has put out requests for state police and the FBI to assist the New York Police Department in its probing of the matter. What conclusions such an investigation might uncover remains to be seen, but as the Associated Press reports, Cuomo isn’t taking the incident lightly. If anything, given how highly charged the current political atmosphere is, the strength of such fringe groups in mainstream spaces would appear — to Cuomo — to have far-reaching implications.
“Why would the Republican Party at their main club invite the Proud Boys?” the governor asked.