Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf rejected claims Thursday that President Trump is trying to hurt New York Gov. Cuomo for political reasons after the two rivals met at the White House earlier in the day.
"This is about security and it's not about politics," Wolf said on "The Story."
Trump and Cuomo have been at loggerheads over the Empire State's new "Green Light Law," which grants drivers' licenses to illegal aliens and restricts U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) access to the state Department of Motor Vehicles databases. In response, the Trump administration blocked New Yorkers from enrolling in Global Entry and other so-called “trusted traveler” programs, which help intercontinental truck drivers and international travelers quickly pass through CBP locations without waiting in line.
Earlier Thursday, Cuomo told reporters that he will not allow Trump to "extort" him and force Albany to give the federal government identifying information for "undocumented people."
"It's all politics. And it's retaliation and it's reprisal," he said.
Wolf disagreed, calling Cuomo's "extortion" claim inaccurate.
"I have been absolutely clear with the governor and any other New York State individual or lawmaker that I talk with: CBP needs access to this database to run their security checks on trusted travelers," he said. "It's that plain and simple. There is no politics about it. They cut off access. We need it back to totally vet these individuals."
"[I]t's particularly interesting coming from New York," Wolf added. "Again, from where 9/11 occurred. We want to make sure that we share information and not continue to withhold information."
He said the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks showed the public and the government the importance of state and local agencies working with the federal government to keep the nation secure.
"With an individual coming into the country, CBP officers need this information [to determine whether] this is a legitimate person coming in … One of the lessons learned was we need to share information. We need to tear down these silos. We don't need to be building these up to keep information from law enforcement officials."