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Democrats line up to support Joseph Mondello for ambassador job

Former Nassau Republican Party chairman Joseph Mondello has

Former Nassau Republican Party chairman Joseph Mondello has the support of prominent county Democrats as he prepares for confirmation hearings to become U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

When former Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week for his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, the longtime GOP leader will have Democratic support.

Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic national committeeman from Great Neck, said Wednesday he plans to be at the hearing to back Mondello’s confirmation.

“Joe Mondello does not need my help in delivering a vote, but I will be proud to be at the Senate hearing to be in support,” said Zimmerman, who often appears on CNN, Fox and other cable news networks as a progressive Democratic advocate.

“Joe has an excellent skill set to be a great ambassador,” Zimmerman said. “His background in government, military service, the politics of negotiating and advocacy, will make him a great ambassador.”

Mondello was Nassau’s Republican chairman for 35 years before stepping down last month. President Donald Trump nominated him in March for the ambassadorship. Mondello also had served as Hempstead’s presiding officer and state Republican chairman.

Zimmerman said he has been friends with Mondello for 25 years.

“We became good friends debating on public television because you can have very strong opinions and very different perspectives and still respect what each other has to say,” Zimmerman said.

“I believe our country is ready to see a resurgence of that, where you can have different perspectives and still respect each other,” said Zimmerman.

Former longtime Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman of Roslyn Heights said he had hoped to go to the hearing to support Mondello but has a scheduling conflict.

“He’s great,” Ackerman said of Mondello. “He’s patriotic. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. He’s a great American and I like him.”

Ackerman said, “We don’t agree on much. It’s the old school thing. You can like people who are decent Republicans.”

Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said he supports Zimmerman’s decision to attend the hearing as well as Mondello’s nomination.

“Bipartisanship, when you can do it and agree on something, is something we should promote,” Jacobs said. “I wish Joe Mondello well and hope he has smooth sailing in his confirmation process, never mind in the Caribbean.

Jacobs added, “If he needs my help, I’ll go to D.C. and help him.”

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