During Monday night’s debate between four Republican candidates for governor of New York, contestants were asked who won the 2020 election.
It was a simple question, answered countless times, immediately after that election and in the many months since. This is at the heart of the testimony before the January 6 Committee in Washington — and it is a matter decided by the courts. Denying it, or pretending you’re just not sure who won, only fuels the conspiracy theories that are tearing American society apart and reinforces the widely held belief that our elections – our democratic system – are not not trustworthy. For Trump loyalists nationwide — including three who are now running for governor of New York — the question was too much. None of those three – Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani – could bring themselves to say, “Joe Biden won. We’re not happy about it, but, yes, he won. Let’s move on.”
Only Harry Wilson, a centrist Republican businessman, said Biden’s victory was clear.
Mr Giuliani fell over himself trying to describe his loyalty to ‘the old guy’ and how fake the election was and how Trump was cheated out of a second term. For his part, Mr. Zeldin basically said the issue was still up in the air. We will never know for sure, he said.
Yes, Mr. Zeldin, we know that for sure.
It is surprising that Mr Zeldin, who voted against the Electoral College results after the violent insurrection by Trump supporters, is still holding the line as he runs for governor. It’s equally disconcerting that he can’t seem to chart his own political course and follow his own independent convictions, apart from the noise of the MAGA conspiracy. He seems unfazed by the violence on Jan. 6, the destruction of property on Capitol Hill or threats to drag Vice President Pence to the gallows — anywhere in the question of who won the 2020 presidential election.
We wonder if Mr. Zeldin is even following the January 6 Committee testimony and, if so, if he is moved by it.
Otherwise, we’d like to tell him about some of Tuesday’s most moving testimonies and what they reveal about America, which many will say with heavy hearts that it is now a country in steep decline precisely because of the theories of conspiracy and Trump’s constant drumbeat. supporters that his victory was stolen.
Three conservative Republican officials testified on Tuesday that they pushed back against relentless demands by Trump and Rudy Giuliani to throw out the results in Arizona and Georgia and replace a fake group of voters who would choose Trump. This is called an attempted putsch.
All three were ruthlessly harassed and threatened. Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers gave moving testimony — repeatedly holding back tears — as he described Trump supporters protesting outside his house and hurling insults (“You are a pedophile” among them) – while her daughter was seriously ill inside. She died on January 28, 2021.
No matter how many times Mr. Bowers refused to cheat and violate his oath of office, Trump and Giuliani persisted.
Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spoke of the virulent harassment shouted at his wife. He said his daughter-in-law’s house was broken into.
“My son is deceased, she is a widow with two children, so we are also very concerned about her safety,” Mr Raffensperger said, according to several media.
Meanwhile, here in New York on Monday night, three Republican candidates for governor of our state simply couldn’t bring themselves to push back against the silly conspiracy theories that fuel violence and only tell the truth. It’s hard to imagine where it all leads from here.