Reaction to the death of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died Thursday hours after his son, Andrew, was sworn in for his second term as governor.
President Barack Obama: Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service — and we are all better for it. He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity. His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country’s success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Mario’s wife Matilda, his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, and his family, friends, and New Yorkers who loved him dearly.
President Bill Clinton (right) waves from the stage at a New York hotel as Gov. Mario Cuomo helps to direct the president’s gaze on Oct. 19, 1994. | Doug Mills/AP file photo
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton: We are terribly saddened by the passing of our friend Mario Cuomo. Mario’s life was the very embodiment of the American dream. When he placed my name in nomination at the 1992 Democratic Convention, he said government had “the solemn obligation to create opportunity for all our people.” In his three terms as Governor of New York, he honored that obligation. It was Mario Cuomo’s great gift and our good fortune that he was both a sterling orator and a passionate public servant. His life was a blessing. Our hearts and prayers go out to Matilda, Andrew, Margaret, Maria, Madeline, Christopher, his grandchildren, and all who were blessed by his life.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “Tonight, the City of Chicago joins all Americans in mourning the passing of Mario Cuomo. Governor Cuomo lived the American Dream: a child of immigrants who lifted himself up through studying in the back of his father’s store; a baseball player who traded America’s pastime for its politics, and a governor who fought for the middle class values that made his own remarkable rise possible and blazed a new trail of opportunity for millions of Americans.
“The thoughts and prayers of the people of Chicago are with his wife Matilda, his sons Governor Andrew Cuomo and Christopher Cuomo, his daughter Margaret, and the people of New York that he served throughout his career.”
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.: “From the hard streets of Queens, Mario Cuomo rose to the very pinnacle of political power in New York because he believed in his bones in the greatness of this state, the greatness of America and the unique potential of every individual. From soaring oratory that stirred the very soul to painstaking coalition building to advance policies and accomplishments, he was a colossal political mind and represented the very best of public service; he leaves an indelible legacy on the state he loved.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Tonight, New York has lost a giant. Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind without equal.” — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.: “Mario Cuomo was a giant of New York government and politics. As much as anyone he understood and appreciated the mosaic that was New York. All who knew Mario Cuomo were better for it. My thoughts and prayers are with the Cuomo family. RIP.”
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “Mario Cuomo inspired millions of people around the country with his vision for a more compassionate and just society, and during difficult times for our city and state, he brought principled and ethical leadership to Albany. He never swayed with the political winds – whether on the death penalty or any other issue – and he earned a spot alongside Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Evans Hughes, Al Smith, and Franklin Roosevelt in the pantheon of New York’s great progressive governors.”
Westchester County, New York, Executive Robert P. Astorino, whom Andrew Cuomo defeated for re-election in November: “I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of former Governor Mario Cuomo. He will forever be remembered for his love of our great state, his immense talent as a gifted orator and as the proud son of Italian immigrants. He was a man of integrity and faith who worked every day to improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”
Rev. Al Sharpton: “The passing of Governor Mario Cuomo is a true loss to the nation, the state and lovers of civil rights and liberties. He was the last liberal giant of New York politics and was a true statesman/politician. We debated often but he never would reduce our disagreements to petty personal grudges. He was a philosopher at heart that always saw the bigger picture.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: “Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo. He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education. Finally, he was a great husband, father and grandfather.”
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman: “I would not be involved in New York politics were it not for Mario Cuomo. He is, and will always remain, one of my heroes. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. I hope that they will take comfort in the fact that he will be missed and mourned by millions, including the countless New Yorkers whose lives he forever bettered.”