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Long Island Progressive Groups Petition For Rep. Zeldin To Resign

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)
Charles Lane
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)

Several Democratic activist groups want U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) to resign after the eastern Long Island congressman objected to Congress certifying the 2020 election following pro-President Donald Trump insurrectionists storming the U.S. Capitol.

The insurrectionists sought to prevent Congress from ratifying Democrat Joe Biden as president. More than 100 people have been arrested in the days following the violent assault, and five have died, including a Capitol police officer.

Democrats, and a growing number of Republicans, blame Trump for inciting the violence, which are the grounds for a second impeachment case being built against him. On Long Island, several petitions also blame followers of Trump who use his rhetoric, including Zeldin. The petitions have amassed over 2,000 signatures in less than a week.

Credit Courtesy Suffolk Progressives
Nearly 100 people protest outside of U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin's district office in Patchogue.

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee and Nassau County Democratic Committee, called on New York Congressional representatives to resign “for their complicity in Wednesday's deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol." He cited Zeldin, Chris Jacobs (R-NY27), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY11), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY22) who also objected to the election results.

Several dozen Long Islanders protested outside of Zeldin’s district office in Patchogue on Monday.

“Congressman Zeldin, along with the other seditionists, attempted to subvert the will of the people in his actions,” said Shoshana Hershkowitz, founder of Suffolk Progressives, a political activism group. Suffolk Progressives back a push by House Democrats to expel GOP colleagues who incited the assault on the Capitol.

Credit Courtesy Suffolk Progressives
Some Suffolk County Democrats blame U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin for inciting violence by undermining the 2020 election results and stoking division alongside President Donald Trump.

Hershkowitz said Zeldin’s objections to the 2020 election results have shown he is unfit to serve in public office.

“He looked to overturn a free and fair election that was decided by the American people, because he didn’t like the result,” she said.

Jesse Garcia, the chair of the Suffolk County GOP, called the petitions an attempt by “keyboard Democrat warriors that simply want to try to overturn an election.” He said the petition signatures wouldn’t amount to the 205,000 votes Zeldin received in November.

Zeldin was one of 139 representatives and eight senators who attempted and ultimately failed to contest the certification of the election results. Zeldin also said in a tweet that there was also zero-tolerance for violence. He said it is elected lawmakers' job to make those objections.

Zeldin said he had the right to object, as Democrats took the same process against Trump in 2017 and Republican President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005.

"Anyone who wants to call on a congressional Republican to resign for supporting an objection on January 6 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,” Zeldin said in a statement. “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."

Hershkowitz, who spoke outside Zeldin’s district office in protest, said Zeldin is just trying to save face with Trump and his supporters.

"This is not how democracy works. This is not appropriate behavior from elected officials who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” she said.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.