New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning that the Halloween terror attack in his city “should not be politicized” and “the last thing we should do is start casting aspersions on whole races of people, or whole religions, or whole nations — that only makes the situation worse.”
Uber driver Sayfullo Saipov, 29, from Tampa, Fla., with addresses in New Jersey, was identified as the driver of the rented Home Depot flatbed truck that plowed into cyclists and pedestrians on the West Side Highway bicycle path Tuesday afternoon, killing eight. He immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, and has a wife and three children in Paterson, N.J.
Saipov was shot by an NYPD officer at the end of his rampage and survived. He reportedly left a note in the truck stating “ISIS live forever.”
President Trump tweeted after the attack, “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”
De Blasio told CNN that “the last thing the president or anyone else should do is politicize this tragedy — we have to find out what happened here.”
“The bottom line is we — anyone who wants to come to this country should be very thoroughly vetted as an individual. But the minute you start generalizing it, especially to a whole religion, then, unfortunately, we’re sending the exact negative message that a lot of our enemies want, that the terrorists want to affirm that this nation is somehow anti-Muslim,” the mayor said. “We’ve got to do the exact opposite. We’ve got to show we respect all people in America. That’s about as American a value as there is.”
“Our Constitution says it, our history says it. We respect all faiths. When we send that message it helps us — in this country, in this world, it helps us fight terror. It helps us have the high ground.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC that “at the end of the day, this is going to happen.”
“It’s happened in Germany, France. It’s a global phenomenon. You can’t let them win. You can’t let them disrupt who you are and what you believe,” he said this morning. “We have a special burden as New Yorkers. We have this statue in our harbor that holds the torch of freedom and democracy, which is everything they oppose. So we’re a natural target. But they’re not going to beat us. They didn’t beat us in 1993 with the World Trade Center. They didn’t beat us on 9/11. And they didn’t beat us yesterday.”
Cuomo also echoed that it’s not “the time to get political.”
“This is not the time to foment hate. This is not the time to divide because they all exacerbate the situation, right? This is the time to forge alliances with our allies,” he said.
The governor noted that he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning, “who’s lived with this for a very long time.”
“This is about information sharing. This is about coalitions. This is about offering people hope and not spreading fear,” Cuomo added. “And that’s what I’m trying to do.”