Screenshot: MSNBC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had the chance to join his party’s growing movement to abolish the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency. Instead, he chose to sidestep the matter marvelously.

Asked during Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show last night whether he, too, favors abolishing ICE, as his primary challenger, Cynthia Nixon, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have said they do, Cuomo railed only against Donald Trump’s “politicized” version of the agency but argued its founding mission was pure.

“Well, look,” Cuomo began, as anyone about to take a strong stand does. “I think what has happened is the president has politicized ICE.”

He then defended ICE’s original mission, which he says was to “fight terrorism.”

“We want a police force that fights terrorism. We don’t want what we have in ICE, which is a politicized police force, which is doing the president’s political bidding,” Cuomo continued. “We don’t want him politicizing ICE, we don’t want him politicizing the FBI, don’t want him politicizing the U.S. Marshals, and that’s what has to be abolished.”

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That last bit really drives home what Cuomo doesn’t seem to understand: that the mission of law enforcement is inherently political. He wants to have his cake and eat it too by signalling to Republicans that he’s not anti-law enforcement while also criticizing a highly specific version of ICE in hopes of pleasing liberals. It’s Trump’s ICE that is bad, not Obama’s ICE! It’s craven, opportunistic political preening, which, after all, is what Cuomo does best.