In response to heavy criticism, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced through a campaign spokesperson on Thursday night that he would retun all campaign donations he has received from from Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of being a serial sexual predator.
The move was a reversal from what Cuomo told reporters on Long Island earlier in the day.
"We returned the money that Harvey donated to my gubernatorial campaign. Obviously, money he has donated to past campaigns has been spent, and has been gone. And I think it is the right symbol," Cuomo said earlier in the day.
Cuomo had previously returned only $50,000 from Weinstein that had been donated to his 2018 campaign for re-election.
Before Cuomo returned the rest, which includes more than $60,000 to previous campaigns, Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to aim his comments on the matter directly at his rival Cuomo.
"The only contribution I ever received from him was in 2001 for $500. It is an account that has long since closed," de Blasio said. "My message to everyone who has current accounts from Harvey Weinstein is, give that money back. Give it to charity. Get the hell away from it. No one in their right mind should be keeping contributions from Harvey Weinstein."
Later in the day, Cuomo was on Staten Island to announce new state legislation to combat the use of the drug fentanyl. Cuomo provided statistics that fentanyl overdoses kill 64,000 people per year in the United States, which led Republican state Senator Andrew Lanza of Staten Island to make this comparison between fentanyl overdoses and the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
"We saw after Vegas people screaming and yelling to do everything from marshal law to throwing the Bill of Rights in the shredder. Where is the outrage here? Where is it?" Lanza said.
The earliest state lawmakers could take up the fentanyl legislation is January when they return to the state capitol for the next legislative session - unless, of course, they comeback early for a special session to take up that and other issues.