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Lee Zeldin sounds off on Epstein suicide

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is seen Oct. 30,

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is seen Oct. 30, 2018. Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

Daily Point

Zeldin's take on Epstein's suicide

Just before noon Sunday, Rep. Lee Zeldin went on Twitter to weigh in on the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex offender who was found dead in his cell Saturday at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center. He apparently hanged himself. 

“There is a 100% chance that there was additional, not yet public wrongdoing in the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein’s death. I’m sure there are some people who want this all to just get swept under the rug, but the public wants & demands answers on what exactly happened,” Zeldin tweeted.

The tweet got 6,300 likes, over 2,000 retweets and more than 300 responses, and those responses almost unanimously treated Zeldin’s message as if he said there must be a conspiracy, not just negligence or incompetence. 

It is easy to read the tweet that way because if the issue is the negligence of letting Epstein come off suicide watch and have an object in his cell with which he could hang himself, that’s public. 

Plus, context matters. President Donald Trump’s supporters accuse the Clinton forces of orchestrating Epstein’s death to silence him about his relationship to them. Trump himself has retweeted messages implying that. And Zeldin is a reliable Trump supporter.

Meanwhile, Trump’s detractors say the president, his backers and the Justice Department are behind Epstein’s death to protect Trump from the same kind of scrutiny.

So what was Zeldin getting at, exactly?

In a lengthy email exchange with The Point on Monday, Zeldin wrote: “I’m 100% positive that there is additional wrongdoing that’s not yet public. The public wants answers regardless of whether those acts were willful/intentional, negligent and/or very reckless. We all should want to know. This is a horrible ending for the victims who were denied justice or closure and for the justice system that needs to do a much better job cracking down on human trafficking, and sex trafficking specifically.”

He later added, “I think every reasonable person who cares about this topic has concluded exactly the same thing I have concluded and stated...at the very least. The next question is finding out what the additional wrongdoing was, who did it, and why.” On Zeldin’s Twitter feed, accusers of both Clinton and Trump have been vocal. Here are the first five responses to his tweet:

  • ‘If #Trump wasn't friends with #Epstein, why did Epstein have 20 private phone #s for Trump (and "Melinia")?”

  • “Like POTUS? Or any other rich man who donates to both political parties?”

  • “Don't worry the same FBI that investigated the Vegas shooting is on it”

  • “Yes they do! How did this happen on Bill Barr's watch? Did he have Epstein murdered to cover up for Trump and his pedophile friends? Trump raped a 13 year old in Epstein's mansion! We need to get to the bottom of this!”

  • ”Dude, maybe you need someone to talk to. Like a friend, or a counselor. You do realize that Twitter is not your therapist, right? If you really want and need to talk to your constituents this badly, you could HOLD A TOWN HALL.”

- Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

On behalf of millennials

Nassau County has continued to lose young residents, according to a 2018 demographic profile by County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. The report, which looked at ways to make the county more attractive to young people, highlights the need for transit-oriented developments, training options, and apprenticeship programs in manufacturing for non-college-bound young people and jobs for women entrepreneurs. 

A panel of millennials who discussed the report last week at Molloy College, including the county’s youngest legislator, Josh Lafazan, pointed to some of the zoning barriers to affordable and mixed-use housing. Lafazan, 25, who says he still lives in his parents' basement, emphasized the lack of attractive rental options. A nextLI survey found that 35 percent of the region’s 18- to 34-year-olds still live at home.

Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, who also sat on the panel, said he moved back to Long Island for its suburban lifestyle but wants to be able to walk around and not entirely rely on his car. The report sites public transit options, walkability, entertainment, affordability, connectivity and diversity as some of the key preferences for the next generation. 

Marvin McMoore, Schnirman’s director of policy and strategic initiatives, encourages young people to attend these zoning meetings to bring about the change they want to see in their communities. “It’s expensive,” Schnirman said about building new public infrastructure to keep the next generation here, adding that “the cost of doing nothing will be much more expensive.”   

- Coralie Saint-Louis @CoralieNewsday

Pencil Point

Buried secrets

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/opinion

Quick Points

  • In the wake of horrific mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Walmart stores that sell guns will no longer show hunting videos in the sporting goods sections that display the guns. Right. Because it was the hunting videos that convinced people already in those departments to buy the guns they were there to purchase.
  • Port Washington-raised Anthony Scaramucci, a former communications director for President Donald Trump, says Republicans might need a new candidate for 2020, comparing Trump to a failing nuclear reactor. This from a guy who took all of 11 days to reach meltdown and get fired.
  • Conservatives reportedly are concerned that President Donald Trump is serious this time about supporting new gun control proposals. No worries — he hasn’t talked to the NRA yet.
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney’s claim to fame in the 2020 presidential race is that he has been running longer than any other Democratic candidate and has visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties. His other claim to fame is that he’s way behind in all of them.
  • Pop star Miley Cyrus announced her separation from husband/actor Liam Hemsworth on Twitter and Instagram, with an analogy to the formation of mountains over millions of years and the observation that the couple, too, are “ever-evolving.” They just have a faster clock — they’ve been married for less than eight months. 

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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