Democrats urged U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) to resign because he opposed certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win after President Donald Trump supporters rioted in the U.S. Capitol Building, leaving five dead.
Jay Jacobs, who chairs the New York State and Nassau County Democratic committees, is circulating a petition calling for the resignation of Zeldin, who represents the East End, and three other members of Congress from New York who also voted this week against certifying the Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
“These four have spent weeks and months delegitimizing our electoral process thereby undermining our faith in our democratic institutions,” Jacobs said in an email Friday with a link to the online petition. “We saw the grave consequences of supporting such divisive and false claims…After supporting these lies against our democracy by a narcissistic authoritarian in the White House who wanted to cling to power, they must resign.”
Congress formally certified Biden’s election victory early on Thursday, after authorities cleared the Capitol of Trump supporters who stormed the halls of Congress and killed a police officer. More than half of House Republicans and eight Republican senators voted to challenge the election results, backing Trump.
“Anyone who wants to call on a Congressional Republican to resign for supporting an objection on January 6th needs to put up their past statements calling for the resignation of every Congressional Democrat who objected in the past, which has now happened at the same date and place as part of the same Constitutional process every single time a Republican presidential candidate has won over the past generation,” said Katie Vincentz, a spokeswoman for Zeldin. “If those public calls for resignations don’t exist, the call for the Congressional Republican to resign now is clearly coming from just another political hack.”
New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy blasted Jacobs.
“Our wounds are deep, but political opportunism isn’t helping anyone,” Langworthy said. “New Yorkers demand better. Stop the games and try to live up to their expectations.”
The three other members of New York’s congressional delegation that voted against certifying Biden’s Electoral College votes were U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo), U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Saratoga County). Voting to certify Biden’s win were the four other members of Long Island’s congressional delegation: U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), and U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bay Shore).
Garbarino, the only other Republican LI congressman who was just sworn in to his first term days before the riot, questioned how elections officials made new rules to help voters cast ballots to avoid catching coronavirus during the pandemic, but stopped short of declining to certify Biden’s votes.
“The role of Congress is not to overturn the election or to take actions that silence voters, he said. “The Constitution is clear, the votes must be counted and certified by the states and Congress has the constitutional obligation to accept those electors and certify each states’ elections.”
Zeldin, who was among Trump’s top defenders during the outgoing president’s impeachment hearings, issued a statement calling for unity after voting against certifying Biden’s win.
“Moving forward, there will be continued debate and there will be disagreement, but out of that must be a healthy, guarded and even thriving republic,” he said. “Right now, I am not going to dwell on any doubt, but to recommit to working towards a vigorous defense of lady liberty at all costs, and the pursuit of unity whenever possible.”