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Gov. Cuomo: ‘the issue’ of recent COVID-19 outbreaks ‘is with that ultra-orthodox community’



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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), already facing fierce condemnation from the Jewish community for his latest lockdown order, said in a Friday CNN interview that he believes “the issue” of the recent outbreaks across parts of New York City “is with that ultra-orthodox community,” the New York Post reports.

Recently, areas of New York City, mostly parts of Brooklyn and Queens, have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As a result, Gov. Cuomo issued a lockdown order for those areas affected, which he calls “red zones.”

Many Orthodox Jewish communities live in these “red zones” and, in response to the lockdown preventing them from attending religious services around their holy days, they have staged large protests. Groups like Agudath Israel of America and the Brooklyn Diocese have even sued Cuomo over his executive order for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights.

RELATED: Gov. Cuomo’s office: ‘We’ve been sued virtually every day’ over COVID-19 actions

While the governor made a point of saying, “I don’t care if you’re Roman Catholic, you’re Jewish, you’re Muslim, you’re an atheist. You have to follow the rules of the state, the laws of the state,” he emphasized that he believes the Orthodox Jewish community is “the issue” when it comes to enforcing the lockdowns.

“The cluster is a predominantly ultra-orthodox cluster,” he said. “The Catholic schools are closed because they happen to be in that cluster, but the issue is with that ultra-orthodox community.”

“This is not a matter of religious freedom,” the governor added.

Cuomo, who has had a longtime relationship with New York’s Jewish communities, highlighted this relationship.

“I’m a big supporter of theirs, but you have to follow the rules,” he said, “because we’re seeing the truth and the truth is if you don’t follow the rules, the infection rate spreads, people get sick, and then you make others sick.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal



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In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.

Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.

Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.

Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.

Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.

Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.

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