By Tom Precious
ALBANY -– Talk about stepping on your message.
An Albany-area Republican assemblyman today likened Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent hardball lobbying campaign getting lawmakers to pass a gun control law to the doings of a dictator.
“Hitler would be proud. Mussolini would be proud of what we did here. Moscow would be proud … I don’t even know how you question whether that’s dictatorial or not,’’ said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin of Rensselaer County.
The remarks came during an event by handful of Republican lawmakers to call attention to what they believe is an abuse of power by Cuomo in using the message of necessity powers –- rushing a bill to the floor without the usual three-day “aging’’ period.
Asked by reporters to elaborate, McLaughlin, a former US Airways pilot, said, “I said it was Mussolini-like.’’
“He’s acting like a dictator in my opinion,’’ the lawmaker said of Cuomo. Asked if that was appropriate language, he said, “I just said it.’’
How do Cuomo’s actions compare to Hitler, he was asked. “How does Putin act over in Russia? Same thing. Dictate to the Legislature what they’re going to do. They’re rubber stamping it,’’ he said.
Senate co-leader Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican, said he understands the frustration by lawmakers about use of messages of necessity, but called McLaughlin’s words “inappropriate.’’
UPDATE: The Anti-Defamation League called McLaughlin's comments "deeply offensive."
"The heated political debate over gun control and government transparency should not be tained by inappropriate and offensive invocations of Hitler or Nazism,'' said Ron Meier, the New York regional director of the ADL. He said the lawmaker's comments help to promote "trivialization of the holocaust.''