Astorino Shuns NAACP debate in Peekskill, NY

eHezi Bias / Bigotry, Campaign Trail, Community 13 Comments

Still Unwilling to Denounce Racism and Bigotry

NYS Senator Pete Harckham (SD40-D-WF).

PEEKSKILL, NY — October 24, 2020 — Rob Astorino has declined to participate in a debate sponsored by the Peekskill NAACP—yet another indication that he is unconcerned with the problems of racism and bigotry that continue to affect the daily lives of millions of Americans, including residents of the 40th Senate District.

Pete Harckham, running for re-election to the State Senate, readily agreed to the debate with Astorino, but since the Peekskill NAACP will not host an “empty chair” event the debate has been cancelled.

“It truly is unfortunate that Rob Astorino has decided to turn his back on a discussion of the issues in Peekskill with Pete Harckham, which certainly sends a bad signal to the community members here,” said Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey. “We have 24,000-plus people in this city who Mr. Astorino clearly does not care about.”

Tom Staudter, a spokesperson for the Harckham campaign, added, “It is no surprise that Rob Astorino would skip this debate. His divisive rhetoric and racist dog whistles regarding what he imagines to be a crime wave in the suburbs are not resonating with hard-working residents.”

Last week, Harckham called on Astorino to denounce racism and bigotry in light of the number of high-profile hate incidents that have taken place in the 40th Senate District recently, but Astorino has stayed silent on the subject.

Similarly, after each of the hate incident in the area, beginning when a Black Lives Matter banner was set on fire at the Quaker Friends Meeting House in New Castle on August 6, not once did Astorino voice any objections or disavowals; and not once did he commiserate for the harmed communities.

And while Astorino has used his campaign to focus on law and order issues above all else, not once did he suggest any kind of retribution to the perpetrators of these disturbing actions, all of which have been termed hate crimes.

Astorino, in fact, doubled down on his support for racism and bigotry this week during a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters. First, he gave wholehearted approval to Native American mascots. Then, when Harckham stated that there were bigots committing hate crimes in the district, Astorino said this was not true, stating “I have never seen a bigot, and I’ve lived here all my life.”

Working as a self-proclaimed “Trump translator,” Astorino repeatedly defended the president’s “very fine people” comment on television in 2017 supporting the rioting white supremacists in Charlottesville (see video)—an eerie echoing of his own comments a year earlier when a swastika and the words “White Power” were discovered along the Bronx River Parkway bike path in White Plains. Back then, he equated the hate incident with protesters unhappy with Trump’s election, earning a well-deserved backlash of criticism.

During the League of Women Voters debate Harckham again called on Astorino to denounce Trump’s Charlottesville remarks, which Astorino simply ignored.

But because his 2019 disclosure form shows that Astorino did consulting work for a controversial political business that was involved in anti-Semitic messaging, residents may wonder if he is intentionally aligning himself with racists and white supremacists.

Last month, when Trump laid out another racist dog whistle in the first presidential debate, signaling to the racist “Proud Boys” that they should “stand back and stand by,” there was not a peep of disgust or disavowal from Astorino. The self-proclaimed “Trump translator” was, again, complicit in his silence.


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SOURCE: Tom Staudter | Communications Director | Office of New York State Senator Pete Harckham

eHeziAstorino Shuns NAACP debate in Peekskill, NY

Comments 13

  1. Astorino won’t appear because he can’t address the issues that the NAACP will be raising Just like he can’t address pro choice groups…..it’s why Republicans lose!

  2. the NAACP is a legit orgazation that represents black Americans….saying that you won’t appear before them is an insult to their members…Astorino simply doesn’t have what it takes to extend his hand to everyone…too bad!

  3. the district leans democrat…Trump is the issue on the ballot…systemic racism has been shown to be of concern both to blacks and to white..A failure to recognize that it has been a problem particularly in the context of a race for the NY state Senate is an admission that you are unprepared to discuss the issue….Astorino has been a Trump shill for years..it is the biggest factor that contributed to his loss for county executive…while another Republican Ed Dey was winning in Rockland…The NAACP is a legitimate organization no reason not to appear before them unless you want to telegraph that like Trump you aren’t interested in their issues..BIG MISTAKE…astorino will lose

    1. NAACP is a racist group just as Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson are prominent race hustling activists who are anti white. Sounds and looks like Harckham is selling out for the black vote. A desperate look when there is such a large disparity of democrats to republicans in his favor as you pointed out in other words by saying the district leans left. Typical liberal argument….Blame Trump than blame the others across the party line, and we still can’t get over Hillary losing four years ago. Bottom line Harckham looks like a typical democrat who is selling his soul for black votes

  4. Wow! Now you don’t even have to be of minority status to play the race card! This reeks of desperation. Good for Mr. Astorino for not playing at their level….

    1. Such a joke. NAACP are the aforementioned bigots. Why would any republican in the world participate in an optional debate with this race hustling organization? What about the black on black crime that continues to effect millions in the black communities? Was that matter slated to be discussed at this debate? Kudos to Mr. Astorino for opting not to participate in this joke of a debate

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