When the Department of Homeland Security announced on Feb. 7 that residents of New York would no longer be allowed to participate in programs such as Global Entry that speed passengers through airport security, it seemed like an act of petty vengeance. But then … petty vengeance is Donald Trump’s middle name. He just spells it with a J. So the idea that Trump would make a move designed to irritate millions of New Yorkers because their state passed laws supporting immigrants seemed absolutely believable.
But as it turns out, Trump wasn’t acting out of pure retaliation. Not at all. On Thursday Trump fired off a tweet making it clear that the real purpose behind making New Yorkers go to the back of the line was extortion—to force the state into leaving his taxes, his company, and his friends alone.
After all, it worked so well in Ukraine.
The original announcement seemed to be a follow-up to threats Trump delivered in one of the red-meat segments of the State of the Union speech that he slipped in between the fake game show segments. In that speech, Trump threatened sanctuary cities and states while making the usual gross distortion of what sanctuary laws are about or how they’re intended to improve public safety for everyone.
But on Thursday, Trump tweeted that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on his way to the White House. Cuomo, said Trump, needed to make New York “stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment [sic],” making the real reason Trump was leaning on the state where he used to claim residence even more transparent than the reason he took such an interest in Ukrainian prosecutors.
Among those who gave this threat the eye roll it deserved was New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted her disgust at Trump’s “corrupt, illegal, and authoritarian” action in holding New Yorkers “hostage in exchange for dropping lawsuits against him and his family’s lawbreaking behavior.”
But AOC wasn’t the only person who noted this obvious attempt at a quid pro quo. New York Attorney General Letitia James also had no doubt about what Trump was doing.
When you stop violating the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, we will stand down.
Until then, we have a duty and responsibility to defend the Constitution and the rule of law.
BTW, I file the lawsuits, not the Governor. https://t.co/tsOLeEgiQp
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) February 13, 2020