New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin hit back at a reporter on Sunday who questioned why he chose to “talk politics” after a shooting occurred directly outside his home.
“At what point are we supposed to talk about the crime on our own streets? I’m standing in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house,” he said.
After a shooting that left two 17-year-olds wounded with non-life-threatening injuries, Rep. Zeldin (R-NY) read a prepared statement and then took questions on Sunday, explaining that his two 16-year-old daughters were inside his Long Island home when the shooting happened, and a bullet landed only 30 feet from one of them.
The New York Post reported that the shooting “may have” been “prompted” by the Bloods gang.
Zeldin, who is challenging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), and running, in part, from a tough-on-crime platform, expressed concern that the state’s crime wave landed on his doorstep when a reporter questioned why the Republican gubernatorial hopeful evoked politics in the wake of the shooting.
“Some would say that, maybe, when your family has just been through this, it might not be a good time to talk politics,” a reporter said. “What would you say to critics who might say that?”
“Well, first off, we had a number of inquiries from media wanting to speak, and instead of doing individual interviews, with everyone, which has always been what I like to be able to do when you reach out… we thought it would be better to address you all at once,” he said.
“As far as standing here and talking about politics, I‘m surprised that you or someone else would even look at it that way. I mean, at what point are we supposed to talk about the crime on our own streets? I’m standing in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house,” Zeldin said. “You can’t get any more outraged than right now. I mean, it’s one thing to spend multiple times over the course of a week where other people are being targeted. But for us, no, we’re more pissed off today than we were when we woke up this morning.”
Zeldin addressed the question on Monday’s edition of “FOX & Friends.”
“I was answering her questions in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house, and by the way… they asked me to come outside and speak to them,” he said. “The first question is then coming after me for standing in front of the crime scene tape speaking to you … there is an election coming up in 29 days and they want to do everything in their power to prop up Kathy Hochul.”
The incident may help to further Republican efforts to show that crime remains one of the top issues facing voters as they head to the polls in November.
Recent polls have revealed that crime has risen above other midterm issues, including abortion, a voting topic that has been heavily pushed by Democrats nationwide. A recent Fox News poll indicated that voters believe Republicans are better equipped to handle the issue.
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