Lee Zeldin at the Smithtown Elks Lodge on June 28....

Lee Zeldin at the Smithtown Elks Lodge on June 28. 2018. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Rep. Lee Zeldin has been generally supportive of President Donald Trump’s attack on “the squad.” Trump has accused Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota of hating the United States and said they should “go back where they came from.” Only Omar was born elsewhere, and she has been a citizen for nearly two decades. 

Zeldin wrote to The Point Monday decrying their “blame America first mentality,” but he conceded that Trump should have stuck to policy disagreements. 

But it turns out Zeldin didn’t mean all four women in his criticism.

In a later email, Zeldin said he had specifically meant Tlaib and Omar. And in an interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning Zeldin said, “The thing is with these members, especially Omar and Tlaib, honestly, I feel like their hearts are filled with darkness. AOC's heart might be filled more with cotton candy and unicorns.”

But Pressley? That’s a whole other story. Zeldin says the two are good friends, and have been since they attended the Aspen Institute together in 2012.

“It’s a great program with 3 long weekends together over 18 months (with contact kept up afterwards) discussing many important topics," Zeldin wrote in an email. "The conversations were mostly philosophical and much deeper than any conversations that are had in our day to day lives in the positions we were elected to. 

"She is highly intelligent, quick on her feet, passionate in her advocacy, and pure in her heart. She is very different from me ideologically, but easy to talk to and work with. Our friendship extends through our immediate families as well.”

Final score of this Trump/Squad donnybrook:

  • Instances of rage, sorrow and epithet hurling: 1 gazillion
  • Hopeful anecdotes: 1

Housing Editorials


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months