New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) said Thursday he would not return contributions made to him by Donald Trump in spite of his opposition to his presidency.
Trump, a New York real estate titan and reality show host before running for the White House, donated $58,000 to Cuomo’s political efforts over the years, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle—the New York Daily News reports Trump gave Cuomo $64,000. Trump has switched parties several times during his career; he was a Democrat from 2001 until 2009 and has been officially a Republican since 2012.
Pressured by gubernatorial primary opponent Cynthia Nixon to return the money, Cuomo refused.
“No, not at all,” Cuomo said. “I will be deeply critical of him and keep the contributions.”
Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo from the left in a long-shot bid for the 2018 Democratic nomination, launched a digital ad campaign trying to shame Cuomo into giving back the Trump donations.
“Andrew Cuomo will take campaign donations from anyone—even Donald Trump,” one ad said. “Sign the petition: Tell Andrew Cuomo to return all Trump family donations.”
The Nixon campaign said in a statement that Cuomo couldn’t serve as an adequate buffer to Trump because of the donations.
“Governor Cuomo cannot serve as a defense against Donald Trump when he’s accepted tens of thousands of dollars from him,” Nixon spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said.
Cuomo last received a contribution from Trump in 2009, and he supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. He has been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration, blasting the White House on its response to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, its immigration policies, and Trump’s rhetoric about African countries, among other issues.
Cuomo is seeking a third term in November.