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King on Trump and health care

Wise old heads ruing the foolhardiness of new presidents from their own party who jump headfirst into health care policy are becoming as much of a tradition as new presidents jumping into health care policy.

This time it’s GOP Rep. Peter King, who told The Point that President Donald Trump never should have done health care first.

“I think we should have started with an infrastructure plan and tax reform,” King said. “That would have catered to the enormous egos of both President Trump and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, and we actually could have gotten it done and gotten everyone some wins.”

Interestingly, Schumer argued vocally for years that President Barack Obama was wrong to start with health care in 2009, especially after 2010 midterm elections devastated the party. Schumer’s argument that his president should have stayed focused on adding to the stimulus package to bring back the economy and jobs and stabilize the middle class has been repeated so often it is essentially part of his personal canon.

So who says Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything?

Lane Filler

Talking Point

NCC board resignation

Anthony Cornachio’s controversial tenure as a trustee of Nassau Community College has come to an end.

Cornachio’s term expired on June 30, and while NCC spokeswoman Kate Murray initially told The Point that the college expected Cornachio to stay on pending appointment decisions by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, The Point has been told that Cornachio resigned. His resignation shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it was surprising that Cornachio stayed on as long has he did after he was indicted in November by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on charges that he ran flophouses for drug addicts as part of a scheme to defraud Medicaid of $1.7 million. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Cornachio’s tenure spanned a long-winded search for a new college president that lasted three years, and the decision by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the school’s accrediting agency, to place NCC on probation. Cornachio seemed to have his finger in each of those pots while serving as a trustee.

In 2013, toward the beginning of the board’s search for a president, Cornachio called an African-American member of NCC’s presidential search committee a “thug,” and called a female member “the youngest looking and very pretty.”

Cornachio’s placement on the board could be construed as political patronage itself. Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato persuaded then-Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint Cornachio. Cornachio had served as an attorney to some Island Park village officials associated with D’Amato in the officials’ fight against federal charges of racial bias in HUD housing in 1990.

Once on the NCC board, Cornachio made the motion to nominate Murray as the school’s spokeswoman after contributing to Murray’s failed race for Nassau County district attorney in 2015. He didn’t disclose the donation.

And, one of the reasons the Middle States Commission placed NCC on probation was the board’s unstable leadership.

Melissa Holzberg

Pencil Point

Make America Fake Again

More cartoons of the day

Pointing Out

Suozzi and single-payer

They might have been routine questions about health care policy, but two visions for the Democratic Party were on display in Huntington Station on Monday night at Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s town hall.

One vision was from Suozzi, who used introductory remarks to underscore the practical focus he says has defined his freshman term in Washington. While he says he opposes Republicans’ recent efforts on health care, he also says he wants to find practical alternatives to put forward rather than just opposition.

One alternative he is not ready for, however, is single-payer health care. And those were fighting words to a group of Long Island progressives who again showed up at a Suozzi town hall to push him on a signature issue activists believe the Democratic Party must embrace.

In this progressive post-Trump vision, which has echoes across the nation, activists say Democrats should move left no matter how centrist their districts.

But Suozzi is wagering that his 3rd Congressional District isn’t quite ready to go all the way to the position of Sen. Bernie Sanders, hoping instead — like other Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — that constituents will want opposition to the Republican agenda on certain issues but not a seismic shift.

After Monday’s event, Suozzi told The Point that the public might be moving toward single-payer health care. But the Democratic Party? “Not yet.”

Mark Chiusano

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