New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin sounded off Friday at an “Ingraham Angle” town hall in Manhattan, hours after the state and city’s latest high-profile violent crime occurred only a few miles away.
Zeldin, a congressman from Suffolk County, referenced the rape of a jogger in the West Side.
He pointed to opponent Gov. Kathy Hochul’s claims the crime issue is a perception problem and that Zeldin is one of several Republican “data-deniers.”
“Here’s the best part of that clip… she’s saying that right next to them showing all the different major crime categories that are way up year-over-year… She says [the crime issue] is a conspiracy. And even CNN this morning, when she’s doing that side-by-side, is showing how major crime category one after another,” Zeldin said.
“What people want is for their candidates… to be talking about how ‘we understand why you’re upset about this: Here are my solutions to fix it.’ We will have zero tolerance for crime where you support our men and women in law enforcement,” he began, then referencing his pledge to fire New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg amid his lax prosecutorial discretion.
Later, a New York University student asked Zeldin, as part of the town hall, what he will specifically do to address public safety concerns in the Big Apple.
Zeldin replied with his pledge to fire Bragg, followed by opening an invitation for the Democrat-run legislature in Albany to work with the governor’s office on solutions.
“What we’re going to do on day one to force them to the table is that we are going to declare a crime emergency here in the state of New York and we are going to suspend cashless bail” among other proposals, he added.
Zeldin later quipped that Hochul has repeatedly questioned his New Yorker authenticity, despite being born and raised in East Meadow, for the apparent reason that he had the gall to oppose her.
Hochul’s predecessor made similar remarks toward Republicans, as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo notably declared them “right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay [people who] have no place in the state of New York.”
“[Hochul] declared that I’m no longer a New Yorker because I’m challenging her. She demanded that I get on a bus and move to Florida. If you want to be the governor, you have to be willing to and want to be the governor for all New Yorkers,” Zeldin said in reply.
“She’s not willing to do that.”
Zeldin added that Hochul appears further out-of-touch with the average New Yorker when she hosts officials like Hillary Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris on the stump. He contrasted Hochul’s purportedly smaller crowd in Westchester with his estimated 3,000 attendees upstate at the same time.