Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

As the Abolish ICE movement gains traction around the country, progressive New York state gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has been handed a gift from the Trump White House, which singled the actress and activist out for her early, outspoken stance against the agency.

Accusing Nixon of having “no clue” about ICE’s work, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley criticized Nixon for “smears and slanders” against the agency.

It’s a harsh statement, to be sure. But it’s also a blessing for Nixon, who has leapfrogged New York State’s actual governor, Andrew Cuomo, on the issue. Rather than take a serious stand on what is becoming one of the most energizing issues on the left, Cuomo has instead said that “ICE should be a bonafide law enforcement organization that prudently and diligently enforces the law.” Wow, inspiring stuff.

Cuomo has also spent the past several days stubbornly declaring that, no, he will not be returning the tens of thousands of dollars Trump donated to his earlier campaigns.

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So now in one corner we have Cuomo literally keeping Trump’s money. And in the other is Nixon, whose effort to position herself as the true progressive in the race—and the one to be taken seriously by those fighting ICE—has now been bolstered by an attack from the White House that New York voters loathe so much.

Nixon responded to the White House’s attack directly, addressing her comments not to Gidley, but to Trump himself: