ALBANY - Donald Trump has downgraded upstate New York from a "war zone" to a "death zone."
The Republican presidential candidate took to the radio airwaves Thursday to bemoan the state of upstate New York, criticizing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for her record as a senator representing New York.
During the interview with WGDJ-AM in Albany, Trump likened upstate New York to a "death zone." Last month, he likened it to a "war zone" during a speech in Virginia, pointing to it as a region hurt by the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump opposes.
"If you remember, when (Clinton) ran for the Senate, her whole campaign was based on she was going to bring jobs back to upstate New York and all these places that are dying, just absolutely dying," Trump said Thursday to host Fred Dicker. "And it turned out to be a total lie. Jobs have fled and right now, it's like -- it's a death zone."
Trump repeated his claim that he can win New York, a heavily Democratic state that both Clinton and Trump call home.
Polls have consistently shown Clinton with a double-digit lead in New York, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1.
The Republican candidate touted his landslide victory in the state's April primary, promising to "play New York very heavy" during the general election push.
"Traditionally, a Republican wouldn't even come to New York to have dinner because there's zero chance," Trump said. "But I'm different in that sense."
During the interview, Trump also discussed his relationship with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Clinton supporter who served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as housing secretary.
Trump said he gets along "very well" with Cuomo, revealing the two chatted before a memorial event Sunday marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. When Dicker asked what they discussed, Trump said they were "talking about how nice and cool it was" outside.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, said Cuomo and Trump "exchanged pleasantries" in a holding area for politicians and officials before the event.
In early 2014 when Trump was thinking about running for governor he said, "Buffalo is really emblematic of what's wrong with the state. And we can turn that around. Buffalo can be a thriving place."
After Trump's radio interview Thursday, Erie County Excecutive Mark Poloncarz, a Democrat, fired back on Twitter saying, “Perhaps if @realDonaldTrump spent any real time in upstate NY, especially Buffalo, he would see how vibrant it is.”
Then Poloncarz tweeted a link from the U.S. Department of Labor showing that unemployment rates for upstate are better than New York City, so he asked Trump if New York City is a death zone.
We wanted to get reaction from Trump supporters as well. The country's first Congressman to support the Trump campaign was Western New York's Chris Collins. He was not made available to speak with us Thursday.
In April before Trump's visit to Buffalo Collins told us, "You could argue the United States today is where Erie County was nine years ago. We saw what happened then. Donald Trump's tapped into that same frustration, anger, disgust with the political class that has sold us all out."
Trump vowed to fight very hard to win New York in Thursday's radio interview, but he did not announce any upcoming campaign or fundraising visits to our region or our state.