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‘Dangerous and divisive’: NY Officials slam Gov. Cuomo for singling out Jews in new COVID-19 orders



Screenshot 2020 05 11 14.40.20

A group of four New York officials sent a letter Tuesday condemning the State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo for singling out the Orthodox Jewish community in his renewed lockdown orders amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. State Senator Simcha Felder, State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, City Councilman Kalman Yeger, and City Councilman Chaim Deutsch all signed onto the letter and said they’re “appalled by Governor Cuomo’s words and actions.”

“He [Gov. Cuomo] has chosen to pursue a scientifically and constitutionally questionable shutdown of our communities,” the officials wrote. “His administration’s utter lack of coordination and communication with local officials has been an ongoing issue since the start of the pandemic, and particularly recently as we face this uptick.”

“Though we are representative of ‘hotspot’ neighborhoods, we have been disincluded from conversations with the governor and his leadership team as they made devastating decisions affecting the people we serve.”

Gov. Cuomo spoke with members of the Orthodox Jewish community Tuesday after earlier threatening to shut down synagogues and defends that he’s taken action ‘out of respect and love’ for them. However, the community leaders argue that it’s just a “duplicitous bait-and-switch.” And a number of the members of the community took to the streets Tuesday night to protest Gov. Cuomo’s orders.

“The governor informed Jewish leaders in a conference call that synagogues in ‘red zones’ would be permitted to operate at 50% and he requested community cooperation (which he was assured would happen),” the group said in Tuesday’s letter to Cuomo.

“Outrageously, just hours later, Governor Cuomo announced a draconian return to restrictions that would shutter thousands of New York businesses and limit houses of worship to a maximum capacity of 10 (no matter the maximum capacity of the building.”

The officials also noted that the community is made up of “Holocaust survivors and their descendants for whom his language was reminiscent of past verbal attacks on Jewish communities.”

On Monday, when Gov. Cuomo threatened to shut down synagogues, he used a picture to show the Jewish community gathering that happened to be fourteen years old. He later apologized, saying it was “a staff error” that was corrected “during the last 10 minutes” of his press conference.”

To the lawmakers representing those communities, the mistake was “outrageous” and they said it “left the implication that Orthodox Jews alone are responsible for rising COVID cases in New York State,” adding there’s no data to support such a claim.

The leaders said they have made efforts to encourage mask wearing and social distancing in the communities they represent and that instead of joining in that effort, the governor has chosen to pursue “threats and aggresive enforcement.”

“That said, it is disgraceful that Governor Cuomo would impose these restrictions targeting our community in the midst of our Jewish holidays. Because of his unilateral and irresponsible acts, our community is rightfully shocked, angered, and highly frustrated. Americans are constitutionally permitted to worship freely, and Governor Cuomo may be assured that we intend to exercise that right without the interference. G-d Bless America,” the letter concludes.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting



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In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”

According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.

Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.

In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.

Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”

When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”

A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.

Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.

The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.

Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.

In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.

The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.

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