Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Hurricanes and hypocrites
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not letting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz forget that he voted against aid for those ravaged by superstorm Sandy, calling him a “hurricane hypocrite” now that he is asking for billions of dollars in disaster aid for Texas.
Rep. Peter King, the Seaford Republican, also has not let Cruz forget how he abandoned the New York region in its time of need, causing funding to be delayed for weeks.
“It was cruel, it was vicious, and something that I’ll never forget,” King said this week.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin won’t have to wait five years to have the hypocrite label slung at him.
In a vote Friday morning, Zeldin — who represents the eastern end of Long Island, one of the most hurricane-vulnerable parts of the nation — was one of 90 House Republicans who voted against a $15.25 billion relief bill for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Zeldin voted against the funding because it was tied to a three-month extension of the debt ceiling — part of a controversial deal to avoid a government shutdown. The deal, which President Donald Trump worked out with congressional Democrats, led fiscal conservatives like Zeldin into apoplexy. Zeldin later criticized “governing from crisis to crisis.”
While Zeldin remained pure in his ideology, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee saw a massive political blunder. It came out within minutes with an attack on Zeldin, hurling at him an interview he gave The Associated Press earlier this week. Referencing Sandy in 2012, Zeldin said, “People’s lives were hanging in the balance.” He pledged to help Texas, saying, “I am fully, completely committed to do whatever I can . . . to assist.”
Three days later, as Irma approaches Florida and Texas struggles to get back on its feet, Zeldin has followed Cruz into hypocrite hell.
Bipartisan fever in D.C.
Earlier this week, it was President Donald Trump making nice with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But Friday morning, it was Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Long Island’s Rep. Tom Suozzi sharing some of the bipartisan fever breaking out in Washington.
Kasich, who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 and is looking at another run in 2020, attended a news conference Friday morning to support a health care plan put forward by the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is a group of 40 or so House members from both sides of the aisle.
Suozzi, a Democrat who is a caucus member and a known bipartisanship agitator, went up to the Kasich afterward to ask him to do a video. In it, Kasich clearly doesn’t think it’s easy for Democrats and Republicans to work together, opining that Suozzi constituents should “keep him in their prayers.”
Campaign gets radical
If a recent Facebook ad is any indication, the race for Nassau County executive is going to be very ugly.
Last week, a targeted ad combined a picture of Democratic candidate Laura Curran, a county legislator from Baldwin, with a frightening image of a heavily tattooed person who appears to be a Hispanic gang member, and a picture of the Manhattan skyline.
The sponsor of the ad claims to be a group named “Who is the REAL Laura Curran?” A Facebook page with that name, which has about 80 followers, is empty but for a four-second video of Curran being interviewed by ex-Nassau County Police Benevolent Association president James Carver. In it, she appears to answer “I wish I knew” when asked how to solve the county’s problems. Last year, a similar Facebook page, “The REAL Todd Kaminsky,” went up as a vehicle to post negative content on the Democratic Long Beach state senator as he sought election to his first full term.
Who’s responsible? The campaign of Curran’s Democratic primary opponent, Nassau Comptroller George Maragos, said it had nothing to do with the ad.
The campaign manager for Republican candidate Jack Martins, E. O’Brien Murray, said that while the Martins campaign was not behind the specific image or ad, it agrees with the message it sends. Then the Martins campaign sent out a news release saying, “Curran has been endorsed by Make the Road NY, SEIU 32BJ, the Working Families Party and the Long Island Progressive Coalition who condemned aggressive federal action to arrest the violent criminals responsible for killing children with machetes, knives and clubs, root out MS-13 and disrupt its criminal enterprise and remove gang members from Long Island communities.” It referred to the groups as Curran’s “radical supporters.”
The accusation goes back to a statement by those pro-Curran groups released just before President Donald Trump visited Long Island to address a string of killings by MS-13 gang members. It advocated jobs, internships, after-school programs and counseling as ways to address the devastation of these communities by violence, but never mentioned enforcement.
Shining for Sept. 11
This week, you might have noticed the blue beams again above Manhattan: the “Tribute in Light” honoring the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
The installation was launched on March 11, 2002, on the 6-month anniversary of the attacks, produced by the Municipal Art Society of New York and Creative Time, a public arts organization. It has been recreated annually on the Sept. 11 anniversary: the 88 xenon light bulbs projecting the beams four miles up. At the time of its debut, they were the strongest shafts of light ever projected, according to the art society.
Officially, the beams come alive from sundown on Sept. 11 until dawn on the next day, says Michael Frazier of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Any blue light you see before then is a test.
The museum this year raised more than $200,000 with the Carnegie Corp. toward maintaining the tradition in perpetuity.