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Zeldin on Cuomo: Hypocrisy in the Extreme

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 17:59

It was perhaps inevitable that New York’s First Congressional District’s seditious representative, Lee Zeldin, would try a run for governor. But it is truly an ironic spectacle for him to rage against Andrew Cuomo’s treatment of women after he spent the last five years brushing off that of the former occupant of the White House.

Governor Cuomo has been described by multiple women as a serial sexual harasser who uses the power of his position to get away with it. So was Donald Trump, who, among other things, paid the porn performer Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a one-night stand they had in 2006, when he was 60 and married to Melania Trump and Stephanie Clifford (Ms. Daniels’s real name) was 27.

Mr. Zeldin is a bit of a paper tiger, fierce in his appearances on right-wing Fox television and occasionally on the House floor but timid in public. He refuses to hold open town hall-style meetings, preferring instead to meet only members of groups deemed friendly to him. He has been a ghost in his district, rarely bothering to visit the South Fork. In a March 1 statement, issued by his office, Mr. Zeldin said that Mr. Cuomo had disgraced the office. Mr. Zeldin had called Mr. Trump’s comments about women “indefensible and wrong” in October 2016, but has stood by the president all the way to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and beyond.

Mr. Zeldin was one of the leaders of the attempt to overturn the results of the November election. And he carried on, claiming that the vote had been “stolen,” even after violent racist protesters were cleared from the Capitol.

Mr. Zeldin has been notably quiet about the takeover. A report this week has emerged that the Capitol police knew in advance that extremist supporters of the president wanted to target Congress and had “incentive to become violent.” In remaining silent, he continues to endorse the very worst of the Make America Great Again racists, those responsible for injuries to nearly 140 officers and the death of Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died after being assaulted by rioters.

In pouncing as the Cuomo sexual harassment scandal broke in the news, Mr. Zeldin appears to be attempting to replay his 2014 victory over Representative Tim Bishop. At the time, Mr. Bishop was accused of acting improperly in helping a donor get a fireworks permit for a private display. In a swing district, this was enough to turn out the incumbent.

More than 20 women accused Mr. Trump of sexual misconduct that has included sexual assault and rape. But this never seemed to shake Mr. Zeldin. Hypocrisy and double standards are the usual state of affairs in politics, but when it comes to sexual abuse, it should be evenly condemned by all sides. Sadly, Mr. Zeldin does not understand this — or is, more likely, too cravenly ambitious to risk offending his Republican base.

 


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