Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Thursday he will not return decade-old donations from Donald Trump, but will continue to criticize his policies.
"No, not at all," Cuomo said. "I’m going to be deeply critical of him and keep the contributions."
The issue was raised earlier in the day by the campaign of his rival for the Democratic nomination, Cynthia Nixon, who has released a fundraising appeal and a Facebook ad highlighting the issue.
Trump last gave to Cuomo in 2009, when he was the New York attorney general. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, gave Cuomo $8,500 in 2011, his first year as governor.
Trump had been a frequent donor to Democrats during his days as a real estate mogul and reality TV show star based in New York City.
In the fundraising appeal, Nixon linked the donations to a broader theme of her campaign.
"Why? Because Trump knew that Andrew Cuomo was his best chance to retain the status quo in New York; so real estate developers and hedge fund managers could keep buying political influence and Cuomo’s corporate donors could avoid paying their fair share to fully fund our public schools," the email states.
Cuomo has blasted Trump on a variety of issues, from immigration and family separation, taxation and the environment, among others.
Updated: In a statement, Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins criticized the Nixon campaign’s push on the donations.
“This is nothing more than a cheap distraction from a campaign gasping for air,” she said. “No governor has fought harder against Donald Trump than Gov. Cuomo. In fact, Trump considered running against the governor in 2014. Gov. Cuomo is 100 percent focused on continuing to lead the fight against the Trump Administration and win the U.S. House and State Senate so we can keep families together, protect New Yorkers from Trump’s disastrous tax plan, safeguard our state’s environment and defend New Yorkers’ civil rights — and no press release is going to change that.”