Republican Staten Island candidate apologizes for Hitler reference
A GOP candidate for Staten Island, N.Y., borough president on Monday issued an apology for reportedly shouting “Heil Hitler” in a Facebook video while calling on people to push back against local coronavirus safety restrictions.
In a video from a Dec. 2 protest on Staten Island over the closure of the restaurant Mac’s Public House, Leticia Remauro, who served as a campaign aide to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), can be seen shouting in defense of the business defying New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) COVID-19 safety rules.
“We’re with the small business community, with Staten Island to stand up for our right — the right to pay taxes so that we can pay the salaries of these good men and women,” Remauro says in the video as police officers stand in the background. “They are just doing their job.”
“But, not for nothing. Sometimes you got to say,’Heil Hitler!’ Not a good idea to send me here,” Remauro said in the video.
Remauro, a former Staten Island Republican Party chairwoman, this week issued statements on her remarks, telling the New York Daily News that she apologizes “profusely that the words I used in trying to create an analogy were offensive.”
She told the New York outlet that she had wanted to make an analogy that the Sheriff’s Department officers were being used to close small businesses by Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), adding that she “actually meant to say ‘mein Führer, it’s not a good idea to send me here,’” thus labeling the state leaders as “fascist.”
“I absolutely regret the choice of words,” she added, saying they came “in the heat of the moment.”
Remauro reiterated these sentiments in a Facebook post, writing “This is a VERY BAD ANALOGY and I am apologizing heartily for my choice of words in this video.”
“I take full ownership of it. I won’t try to make any excuses. PERIOD,” she continued.
The Hill has reached out to Remauro for comment and confirmation on the situation.
The owner of Mac’s Public House, 34-year-old Danny Presti, was arrested multiple times in early December amid his ongoing defiance of local coronavirus restrictions.
Presti was first arrested by police for violating New York’s local health orders, arguing at the time that he could not afford to shut down his establishment and that he had a right to remain open despite surging coronavirus cases in the area.
He was arrested again days later after striking a sheriff’s deputy with his car while trying to flee as police attempted to detain him.
Cuomo at the time said that Staten Island accounted for a quarter of all New York City coronavirus-related deaths even though the island’s population makes up just 5 percent of the city’s population.
As of Tuesday morning, Staten Island remains one of the biggest coronavirus hot spots in New York City, along with communities in the South Bronx as well as north and southeast Queens, according to The New York Times coronavirus database.