Queens Republicans Protest Gov. Cuomo’s Comments

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

A group of Queens Republicans gathered on Tuesday to condemn comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which they called “hate speech.”

The Queens Village Republican Club called on Gov. Cuomo to apologize and retract statements he made earlier this week about Republicans not belonging in New York.

The Governor has come under fire for saying during a radio interview that “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon and anti-gay” do not belong in New York because “that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

A group of Queens Republicans said, at a press conference at Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday, the Governor should apologize for the comments.

Phil Orenstein, a member of the Queens Village Republican Club, was among the ones to express their disapproval of the comments.

“We say no to Governor Cuomo. We will not leave New York State. We were born here, we raised our family here and we’ll continue to live in New York State with our opinions and freely express them,” he said.

Joe Concannon echoed Orenstein’s sentiment, saying he represents all citizens of New York.

“We don’t need a Governor going out and being derisive and using language which just doesn’t belong in the public lexicon,” Concannon said. “This isn’t something that he should be doing as the Governor of our state.”

The Queens GOP also sent out a statement, expressing their disapproval over the controversial comments.

“It’s shocking, to say the least, that the Governor thinks he can tell New Yorkers how they should think. That he would actually outline a litmus test for what beliefs he finds acceptable for people in New York to hold,” GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa said.

Following several published reports about his comments, the Governor’s office issued a statement saying Cuomo’s words were misconstrued and he was not saying that Republicans should leave New York.

“It is clear that the Governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state (either moderate Republican or moderate Democratic),” the statement read in part.

When asked to respond to the statement, Orenstein said they are just trying to save face in light of the backlash and they will push for an apology from the Governor. He added that they plan on taking a trip to Albany in the near future to protest the comments further.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.