Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump, back in Washington, D.C. after an eventful working vacation at his New Jersey golf course, (with a brief stay at Trump Tower in Manhattan), this evening will address the nation from Fort Meyer, Virginia, making his first prime time broadcast since he took office.

The topic of his speech will be the “way forward” in Afghanistan, a potential escalation of the nation’s longest war, after a lengthy period of deliberations that carved deep splits within his administration..

Vice President Mike Pence will join the president for lunch, and then later host students from Cornerstone Schools for a Great American Solar Eclipse viewing event at the United States Naval Observatory.

Pence and Trump then participate in the swearing-in ceremony of Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson, IV as US Ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Pence will then participate in a swearing-in ceremony for US Ambassador to Portugal George Glass.

In the evening, Pence will attend the presidential address to the nation.

The eclipse is here! Starting around 1:15 p.m. E.D.T., a 70-mile-wide shadow cast by the moon will make landfall in Oregon and finish its path in South Carolina at around 2:49 p.m. E.D.T.

In honor of the return of the total eclipse, the Great New York State Fair will hold a special sale of admission tickets. Starting at 1:15 p.m., tickets good for admission on any day will go on sale for $3 – the price of admission in 1979, which was the last time a total eclipse occurred.

Only 1,979 tickets will be available and the sale will end at 3:45 p.m., about the time the eclipse is ending.

At 8:15 a.m., Mayor Richard Thomas and the City of Mount Vernon will be breaking ground on a new playground at the city’s Brush Park, 582 South Third Ave., Mount Vernon.

At 8:30 a.m., Broadway casting directors and union supporters will rally in the heart of the theater district and then march through Times Square to the offices of the Broadway League, calling for a union contract.

At 9 a.m., Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican nominee in the NYC race for mayor, will conduct a nine-stop listening tour of NYCHA housing on Monday accompanied by community activist Tony Herbert, starting by meeting Dr.Cindi Ashley (NYCHA-NAACP) and presidents of the Ft. Greene Houses Tenants Association, Mike’s Diner, 328 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn.

At 9:15 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina delivers brief remarks at New Teacher Week, United Federation of Teachers, 52 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will hold a media availability regarding new security measures for the upcoming J’Ouvert celebration, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul tours the downtown Hampton Bays and REDC project construction site at Good Ground Park, 9 Squiretown Rd., Hampton Bays.

At 11 a.m., the upper Manhattan community will gather with Amanda Morales-Guerra, a young mother of three, who is currently in sanctuary in a Washington Heights church to avoid deportation by the Trump administration, 179th Street and Fort Washington Avenue, Manhattan. (A rally/press conference will follow at 1 p.m., Foley Square, 111 Worth St., Lower Manhattan).

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, elected officials, and community leaders will rally outside the J. Marion Sims Monument in Central Park to renew their demand for removal of an “offensive statue” honoring a physician who conducted medical experiments on non-anaesthetized enslaved black women, 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Queens Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, along with local elected officials, housing advocates, and community members hold a press conference to announce legislation creating two new refundable tax credits for people who live in rental or government-subsidized housing, Woodside Houses Park, 50th Street between Newtown Road and Broadway, Queens.

At noon, Hochul celebrates the new Stony Brook Southampton Hospital partnership, 240 Meeting House Ln., Southampton, Long Island.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul visits the ecommerce health distributor Entourage Commerce’s new location, 1516 Motor Pkwy., Islandia.

At 4:15 p.m., Hochul highlights ReCharge NY investment to create jobs at at MindSHIFT, 500 Commack Rd., Suite 140, Commack.

At 6 p.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr., in partnership with NYC Local Lending, will honor 15 small business owners at his Heart & Soul of NYC Small Business Awards, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., Jack Martins, GOP candidate for Nassau County Executive and Steve Labriola, candidate for Nassau County comptroller, with Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, will hold their fourth town hall meeting, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, 1125 Broadway, Hewlett.

Headlines…

Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early this morning.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement that damage to the McCain’s hull flooded adjacent compartments including crew berths, machinery and communications rooms. A damage control response prevented further flooding, it said.

President Trump, who has been accused by lawmakers of dragging his feet on Afghanistan, has settled on a new strategy to carry on the nearly 16-year-old conflict there, administration officials said Sunday. The move, following a detailed review, is likely to open the door to the deployment of several thousand troops.

Options on the table include proposals to send roughly 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S. troops to a conflict that stretches back to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. More than 2,400 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan.

Trump blasted the news media ahead of his return to Washington yesterday after a 17-day working vacation, tweeting: “Heading back to Washington after working hard and watching some of the worst and most dishonest Fake News reporting I have ever seen!”

Former White House advisor Steve Bannon had worked out a graceful exit with the president’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, but that went out the window when the two reportedly clashed over the appropriate response to Charlottesville.

Breitbart News, the media outlet helmed once again by Bannon, published an article yesterday casting national security adviser H.R. McMaster as soft on Islamist extremism and terrorism.

Trump’s job-approval ratings in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the three key Rust Belt states that helped put him in the White House — are below 40 percent, according to polling data released by NBC News and Marist.

The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society has joined a growing list of charities and organizations to cancel events at Trump’s exclusive Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, following his controversial comments about violence at a white supremacist rally.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and more than 125 religious leaders from around the state issued an open letter condemning white supremacy and Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville.

The University of Texas hastily removed four Confederate monuments from its campus after its president said the statues represented “modern white supremacy” and “neo-Nazism.”

A recent meeting between Trump and top conservative donors like Robert Mercer to discuss the White House agenda moving forward has left some New York Democrats “salivating.”

More >

The Weekend That Was

After one of President Trump’s most ruinous weeks in office, the White House sent none of its officials to defend him on Sunday talk shows — leaving the task to Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California’s Adam Schiff, said his colleagues are getting worried about the president’s mental health — amplifying the growing concerns from the past week that Trump’s head isn’t fit for his job.

Trump punted his first two attempts at a tweet Saturday, trying to address protests and counter-protests across the country and getting caught up on a typo – twice – writing “heel” instead of “heal.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, under fire from Yale classmates and Jewish critics of Trump, strongly defended the president’s equivocating response to the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, in a written statement this weekend.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump said they will skip December’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony with the hopes of avoiding “political distraction” – a decision made after some award recipients had announced their intent to boycott the event.

Thousands of left-leaning counter-protesters flooded Boston streets on Saturday, blasting white nationalism and chanting anti-Nazi slogans as they marched peacefully towards a “Free Speech” rally being organized by right-wing activists.

Demonstrations were boisterous but broadly peaceful, even as tension and worry coursed through protests from Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park, to Hot Springs, Ark., and to the bridges that cross the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. Other rallies played out in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Memphis and New Orleans, among other cities.

Trump gave kudos to “tough” Boston cops for tamping down potential violence between conservative activists and counter-protesters at a tense “free speech” rally. “Great job by all law enforcement officers and Boston Mayor,” Trump tweeted, singling out Mayor Marty Walsh.

Duke University removed a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee early Saturday, days after it was vandalized amid a national debate about monuments to the Confederacy.

Brooklyn Rep. Yvette Clarke unveiled legislation that would require the Department of Defense to change the name of any military installation or other property currently named for individuals who fought against the U.S. during the Civil War.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe temporarily blocked protests at the statue of Lee in a residential neighborhood in Richmond following violent clashes in Charlottesville that led to three fatalities.

A controversial monument to Dr. J. Marion Sims, a doctor who experimented on slaves, became the target of protesters who rallied at Central Park on Saturday.

A host of NYC statues could be on the chopping block as the mayor reviews them in light of Charlottesville.

In the wake of Trump’s widely criticized response to last week’s white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Rep. Chris Collins – a longtime supporter of, and frequent surrogate for, the president – has been close to silent. And Rep. Tom Reed has focused his comments on what happened in Charlottesville rather than on how Trump reacted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined a growing chorus of Democrats seeking to censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville.

Every member of the Trump’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest of his comments about Charlottesville.

C.E.O.s are speaking out on social and political issues in sometimes startling ways, recasting the role business plays in the national debate.

Hours after his ouster from the West Wing, Steve Bannon was named to his former position of executive chairman at the hard-charging right-wing website Breitbart News, and led its evening editorial meeting. He appeared eager to move onto his next fight.

Legal experts say Bannon may face a challenge in his security clearance as Trump’s now-former chief strategist returns to his pre-White House career as executive chairman at the media company Breitbart.

Bannon’s departure could tip the balance in the Trump White House on some fiercely contested issues toward a more mainstream approach, even if the core tenets of his philosophy survive.

Bannon fired a parting shot at the White House, saying: “No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee who was diagnosed with brain cancer in July, has completed his first round of radiation and chemotherapy, his daughter Meghan said.

Port Authority Police Department candidates who are already police officers with other departments are failing a psychological test at alarming rates, with some questioning the validity of a test that disqualifies so many current officers.

Nearly assured re-election, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio argued for $2.6 million in public campaign funds. The money may silence debate, rather than encourage it.

Amtrak’s chief operating officer said he expects New York City’s Penn Station to be back in full service on the Tuesday morning following Labor Day.

New York City megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard announced he has stepped down from the unofficial board of evangelical advisers to Trump.

A reporter was arrested while interviewing Bronx Community College students about the future of Confederate busts on their campus.

Nicholas Fuentes, an 18-year-old student who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, said that he’s received death threats for months over his conservative viewpoints — enough for him to decide it’s time to leave Boston University.

Key organizers of last weekend’s violent white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville have pursued their agenda of hate in New York, leafletting college campuses and staging anti-immigrant events.

The MTA announced plans to alter a tile design in the Times Square Subway station, which looks similar to the Confederate Flag.

In order to “avoid absolutely any confusion,” the MTA said in a statement that it would modify the design, which actually is based on geometric forms that represent the “Crossroads of the World,” to make it “absolutely crystal clear” that it does not depict a symbol of Southern defiance.

Two NYC Council candidates were hit with accusations of getting a free ride on their campaign office rent, according to complaints being filed with the Campaign Finance Board.

Arthur Finkelstein, a reclusive political Svengali who revolutionized campaign polling and financing and helped elect a bevy of conservative candidates, including President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, died on Friday night in Ipswich, Mass., where he lived. He was 72.

The new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is set to partially open soon, is the seminal infrastructure project of Andrew Cuomo’s tenure as governor.

Peter Reese, a North Buffalo lawyer and longtime Democratic committee member, announced last week his intention to challenge County Chairman Jeremy Zellner when Zellner comes up for re-elecction next year.

Acea M. Mosey, who raised more than $900,000 to become Erie County’s Surrogate’s Court judge, will run unopposed after loaning her own campaign half that money and the other half coming from lawyers and law firms that would likely appear before her.

Two of Onondaga County’s top officials – County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Sheriff Gene Conway – want to hand over supervision of the county jail to the Sheriff’s Office.

Laura Lavine, the Republican candidate running to be the next Syracuse mayor, condemned the ACT for America’s “America First” rally planned for next month.

The rally’s local organizer has cancelled the Sept. 9 event after the City of Syracuse denied a permit for it to take place.

A Brooklyn court clerk who claimed her complaints about an allegedly lewd boss were ignored because his wife is a judge was demoted because of absenteeism, the state claims.

Dozens of current and retired officers from the NYPD – including Frank Serpico, who exposed corruption in the department in the 1970s – rallied on Saturday morning in support of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers player lionized and reviled for refusing to stand during the national anthem.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said she removed Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board because he disclosed confidential information from an executive session, but few believe that was the real reason, instead suspecting it was his controversial criticism of the former president and first lady that got him ousted.

The Buffalo Board of Education has started thinking about life without Paladino, with the school district releasing information on how people can submit applications for his former Park District seat.

Mourners Saturday morning remembered longtime area law enforcement leader Wayne Bennett during a funeral at St. Mary’s Church in Albany. Bennett, who was a State Police superintendent and public safety commissioner for the city of Schenectady, died of cancer at the age of 71.

New York City mayoral candidate Michael Tolkin could be allowed to participate in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary debate, although he would need to be invited by the debate sponsors, which may not happen with NY1.

Real estate developer Mark Stagg is setting an example for other companies to follow, making a mint off the de Blasio administration’s desperation for more housing for the homeless and its willingness to go along with a bait-and-switch on a proposed apartment building in the Bronx.

Marjorie Velazquez, a candidate for New York City Council in the Bronx, has been touting her work as co-founder of Bronx Women United, which encourages women to enter politics, but a member of the group says it met just three times and was never formally registered as a nonprofit or corporation.

Taxpayers have spent $2.5 million for the housing and travel costs of state lawmakers so far this year with some pols raking in thousands, records show.

Roughly 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled Friday afternoon at the Momentive Performance Materials plant in Waterford, but no water sources were affected by the spill and there is no threat to public health or the environment.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called on the de Blasio administration to guarantee the preservation of manufacturing space in the Garment District before it moves ahead with a controversial plan to rezone the area.

The offices of the state attorney general and the governor are monitoring an investigation into Tuesday’s shooting of a 22-year-old parole absconder who may not have been armed when at least one Troy police officer opened fire and injured the man during a traffic stop.

Two football coaches at a Long Island high school where a teenager suffered a fatal injury at a preseason practice will be reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation.

NYC spent nearly $25 million last year paying teachers who were removed from permanent classroom gigs because of alleged misconduct or incompetence, new Education Department figures show.

The city pays more than 800 teachers without permanent jobs, and now plans to put them into school vacancies, whether principals want them or not.

Canadian developer Harry Stinson has a signed contract to buy the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo. But the hotel’s owner cautioned that the deal still has work before the sale closes.

Political retaliation is responsible for a court clerk losing her job in the Town of Hamburg, a state Supreme Court judge has ruled.

Leave the Wizard to the pros when it comes to Saratoga Race Course. That is the strategy behind the Saratoga Tracksider, a smart phone app developed by former Pataki administration aide David Catalfamo.

A coyote that attacked a woman on a Washington County bike path this week tested positive for rabies, officials confirmed, prompting a fresh round of warnings from public health officials for people to remain alert to suspicious wildlife behavior.

Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to Hillary Clinton and vice chairwoman of her 2016 campaign, is seen striking a pose in W magazine for a feature published Friday on designer Oscar de la Renta’s new creative directors and famous fans.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily closed off access to several areas near the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Warren County, Penn, but they’re not saying exactly why, leading to widespread speculation as to the cause.

The Miss New York State Scholarship Pageant is returning to upstate next year, and is scheduled to be held in June 2018 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, also known as Shea’s Buffalo Theatre.

POLITICO reporter Azi Paybarah is about to depart NYC for the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he will focus on, “Reaching beyond natural audiences: rebuilding media credibility through technology.”

Congratulations to North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik, who got married Saturday to her fiancé Matthew Manda on the grounds of the Hall of Springs.

RIP comedian Jerry Lewis, adored by many, disdained by others, who died today at the age of 91.

Also RIP comedian Dick Gregory, whose death proved a tough loss for Hollywood, who remembered the legendary funnyman and civil rights activist with a flood of social media posts commending his fight for justice and his stellar sense of humor.

Actor John Krasinski, who played the deadpan Jim Halpert in the television series “The Office,” will be among the stars filming in New Paltz this October for a Hollywood film production, according to Town of New Paltz Councilman Dan Torres.

Extras

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, effective at the end of today, a White House spokeswoman announced.

U.S. stocks rebounded in a volatile session, while the dollar cut losses and bond yields rose to session highs, as reports emerged about Bannon’s departure.

A number of conservatives are not at all happy that the president decided to part ways with Bannon.

After declaring “WAR” following news of Bannon’s ouster, Breitbart News’ senior editor-at-large wrote that Trump risked becoming “Schwarzenegger 2.0.”

Also out: Carl Icahn.

A day after the deadly terrorist attack in Barcelona, Trump said radical Islamists “must be stopped by whatever means necessary” and urged U.S. courts to give him the right “to be tough.”

The mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville, said she refuses to speak with Trump after watching his remarks Tuesday about the violence there, during which the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the protests.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a push to bring more minorities into the State Department, denouncing racism and hate speech as “antithetical to the American idea” while stopping short of singling out Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, has excoriated Trump for his equivocating response to the violence in Charlottesville, posting a call on Facebook for the president to apologize for causing racists to “rejoice.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, who long ago earned a permanent place on Trump’s enemies list, has launched a new crusade to censure the president for boosting white supremacists.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he has no plans to become Trump’s Energy Secretary – an idea that was floated as a way to let the state’s Republican governor name a successor and advance the president’s stalled agenda in Congress.

A federal appeals court has upheld New York State’s denial of water permits for the proposed Constitution Pipeline which would run through Central New York to Schoharie County.

A “modest” celebration will be held to mark the opening of the first span of the new Tappan Zee (AKA Mario Cuomo) Bridge.

Chelsea Clinton weighed in on the controversy surrounding the re-emergence of Confederate statues as a political debate and compared those remembered in the statues to “Lucifer.”

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner is asking a Manhattan federal judge to delay the sentencing date in the case against him for texting a minor sexually inappropriate messages.

Public Citizen is the fourth government watchdog group to sue the Trump administration over White House visitor logs. The group sent requests, spanning from April to July, seeking to obtain visitor records for four key offices, which the Secret Service either denied outright or didn’t bother to respond.

Spurred by fear of Trump’s immigration policies, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking asylum and crossing illegally from upstate New York into Canada. There were 800 asylum seekers in June, 3,000 in July and 4,000 so far this month.

Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has joined the pro-Trump super PAC America First, making him the latest campaign veteran to join an outside group aimed at boosting the president’s agenda.

The already short-staffed Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office is losing another forensic pathologist at a time when its caseload of autopsies fueled by the opioid drug overdose epidemic is soaring, and plans to use more contract pathologists from New York City.

The two alligators that were recently captured in the Tioughnioga River near Whitney Point will make their “media debut” Monday morning at the Animal Adventure Park.

Cosmopolitan magazine deemed Cornell in Ithaca one of the most 30 beautiful college campuses in the world.

A fully functional 18-karat gold toilet, designed by the puckish Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and installed in a single-occupancy restroom at the Guggenheim Museum will be removed next month.

According to Tina Fey, sheetcaking is a thing.

Heastie Hedges on Hate Crimes Expansion

From the Morning Memo:

During a CapTon interview in his Capitol office yesterday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie declined to immediately sign off on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s so-called “Charlotteville provisions” that would change the state’s hate crimes law in response to the violence in Virginia last weekend.

Cuomo announced this week that he wants to add new offenses of rioting and inciting to riot when the actions target protected classes to the existing statute. The penalties for engaging in rioting that’s deemed a hate crime would carry tougher felony sanctions under the governor’s proposal.

Heastie said his office has received proposed bill language from the governor, and it is currently being reviewed by staffers. But, no doubt aware of the fact that most proposals calling for increased criminal penalties tend to be a tough sell with his Democratic conference, the speaker is treading cautiously on this one.

“We always want to try to weed out hate, and we don’t ever want to look like we’re sympathetic to people who incite hate,” Heastie said. “But we just have to go through the bill and make sure there’s no unintended consequences.”

“Hate crimes is something that we’ve always looked seriously at, but the increasing of penalties for certain classes, we’ve started to have problems with that, because we don’t want to make it seem like one person’s life or the crime that happens to them should have a stiffer penalty than say you or I. So, those have been some of the challenges that we’ve had. I told the governor that we would look at the bill.”

Heastie also weighed in on the push in New York and elsewhere to remove Confederate-related statutes, street names and other references, saying he supports removing busts of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the CUNY Hall of Heroes in the Bronx, perhaps re-installing them in a museum. But he worries about the effort to “wipe out” history, even if the memory of certain difficult or unsavory moments is painful.

The speaker shied away from commenting on the racial divide in the Senate Democratic conference, which was making headlines prior to the Charlottesville riot. He reiterated that he would prefer to see Democrats united in that chamber, and suggested his colleagues across the Capitol should focus on what unites them, rather than what divides them.

On the subject of whether those who have befitted from campaign contributions from hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, who was forced to apologize after making remarks on Facebook that compared Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who, like Heastie, is African American, to the KKK, the speaker said that is an individual decision that should be made by the recipients – whoever they may be.

Extras

Under fire for defending racist activist groups, President Trump said on Twitter that he was “sad” to see United States’ history torn apart by the removal of “our beautiful statues and monuments,” echoing a popular refrain of white supremacist groups that oppose the removal of Confederate monuments.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the statues of Confederate leaders be removed from the US Capitol following the violence in Charlottesville.

Taking down statues of Confederate figures is “just like” removing a monument to victims of the 9/11 attacks, said Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, adding that the white nationalist and far-left protesters in Charlottesville over the weekend were “equally as bad” and “disgusting.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, both Democrats, say the Lee Barracks at West Point should no longer bear the Civil War general’s name.

The rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism has released a letter to the congregation of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s longtime synagogue condemning the persident’s widely criticized statements about the violent protests in Charlottesville.

The city of Syracuse has denied a permit requested by ACT for America to hold a rally next month to support Trump’s immigration, refugee and border policies, according to a spokesman for the mayor’s office.

Trump is headed back to the rustic presidential retreat Camp David, the site of many historic discussions and private meetings between presidents and foreign dignitaries.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took direct aim at the president for his Charlottesville remarks, name checking him in a Daily News OpEd, and writing: “No, President Trump, there can be no moral equivalence between white nationalists and activists who protest against racism.”

The NYPD said it was “closely monitoring” a terror incident in Barcelona that caused multiple deaths and serious injuries.

Mylan and federal investigators finalized a $465 million settlement of charges the drugmaker overcharged the government for the injection allergy medication EpiPen, resolving an issue that fueled nationwide debate over soaring drug costs.

Republican NYC Councilman Joe Borelli pens an OpEd dismissing the idea of a Cuomo presidential run in 2020, writing of his lack of popularity among liberals: “It’s hard to buy a coffee in Manhattan without bumping into a Bernie bro, but other than Chris, you won’t meet a ‘Cuomo bro.'”

Republicans trail Democrats by 10 points on a generic House ballot, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out today.

Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz, who had aligned herself with Trump due to his pro-charter stance, emailed parents and staff to denounce the president’s response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the New York courts system who earned $172,000 last year, was abruptly fired after he accidentally called a reporter and was heard telling others that “I barely show up to work.”

After 25 years of talk about turning the main post office in Manhattan into an extension of Pennsylvania Station, construction toward that ambitious and expensive goal is about to get underway.

The New York State Police, facing questions over a plan to divert troopers to New York City from upstate counties, have sought to restrict the release of information that would show staffing changes across the state.

Eastman Kodak is laying off a couple dozen non-union employees in Rochester, according to a filing with the NYS Department of Labor. Kodak spokesperson Nick Rangel said 35 employees will be let go by Nov. 7.

Twitter has suspended The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news website, from their platforms, joining a list of technology companies that have refused to host the site.

The Citizens Budget Commission today issued a report on overtime spending in NYC government, finding it grew 62 percent from $1 billion to $1.7 billion from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2016.

Nearly two-thirds (264) of the 420 firefighters and fire officers who retired from the FDNY during 2016 are eligible to collect pensions of at least $100,000, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump is back at his New Jersey golf course, where he is scheduled to have lunch with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (at 1 p.m.) and meet with the head of the Small Business Administration (at 3 p.m.)

At 9 a.m., the NYC Employment Practices Commission holds a public hearing, 253 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Assembly members Nicole Malliotakis (also the GOP candidate for NYC mayor) and Ron Castorina hold a press conference to call for placing stop signs at schools and clearing sidewalks of overgrown vegetation, Greencroft Playground, intersection of Redgrave Avenue and Greencroft Avenue, Staten Island.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board holds a public hearing, Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. Board Room, 100 Church St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., advocates, social service providers and people with a history of drug use protest at Cuomo’s NYC office, to raise visibility on the epidemic and demand “bolder political action,” 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Moynihan Train Hall, 33rd Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the NYCs Progressive Caucus holds a press conference and rally to announce their legal filing urging the court to reject the NYPD’s denial of all of FOIL request for records regarding the killing of Ramarley Graham, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corp.’s board of directors holds its monthly meeting, The Brisbane Building, 403 Main St., fifth floor conference room, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., the NYC Commission on Human Rights holds a public hearing on a proposal to amend its rules to establish certain definitions and procedures applying Local Law No. 37 of 2015, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, Spector Hall, 22 Reade St., Manhattan.

At noon, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America host a sexual education and HIV prevention training for senior New Yorkers, Tilden Senior Center, 630 Mother Gaston Blvd., Brooklyn.

Also at noon, NYC mayoral candidate Sal Albanese makes an announcement, Brothers Playground, East 96th Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, Rep. Nydia Velasquez, Assembly members Felix Ortiz, JoAnne Simon and Diana Richardson, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, historic preservation advocates and community leaders call on the state to fully investigate a possible African burial ground site, 193 Ninth St., Brooklyn.

Also at 1 p.m., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie tours 845 Commons with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, 845 Broadway, Schenectady.

At 2:30 p.m., state Sen. John Brooks, Assembly members Christine Pellegrino and Kimberly Jean-Pierre, along with local elected officials, call for the installation of elevators in Long Island Rail Road stations, Amityville Long Island Rail Road Station, John Street, Amityville.

At 3 p.m., Heastie visits the town of Colonie’s Fire Training Facility with Assemblyman Phil Steck, 108 Wade Road, Latham.

At 4:45 p.m., Heastie attends a walking tour of downtown Saratoga Springs with Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, Adirondack Trust, 473 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

At 5:30 p.m., the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee holds its Gathering at the Glen, Watkins Glen International racetrack, 2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen.

At 6 p.m., the African-American International Chamber of Commerce celebrates Harlem Week with a networking event, 24 E. 125th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., the NYPD Muslim Officers Society holds its 9th Annual Scholarship Dinner, with Commissioner James O’Neill awarded Man of the Year, Terrace On the Park, 52-11 111th St., Manhattan.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Nassau County executive candidate Jack Martins and Steve Labriola, candidate for Nassau County comptroller, with Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, hold a Town Hall with voters, American Legion Post 303, 197 Maple Ave., Rockville Centre, Long Island.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump found himself increasingly isolated in a racial crisis of his own making yesterday, abandoned by the nation’s top business executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans outraged by his defense of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump’s embrace of the country’s racially charged past has thrown the Republican Party into crisis, dividing his core supporters who have urged him on from the political leaders who fear that he is leading them down a perilous and shortsighted path.

One after another, the nation’s most powerful Republicans responded to Trump’s extraordinary remarks about white supremacists. Yet few mentioned the president.

John Dowd, Trump’s personal lawyer, forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda, praising General Robert E. Lee, and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the Army to reconsider its recent decision not to rename two streets in Brooklyn honoring Civil War Confederate generals.

A reminder: The Army on Aug. 7 denied requests from New York congressional members to change the names of Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue on the Fort Hamilton Army Base, the city’s only active military post.

Also, the president of the Bronx Community College said the school would remove the bronze busts of those two same Southern generals from its Hall of Fame for Great Americans, a century-old outdoor sculpture gallery on the campus.

Cuomo also said he will see to it that the busts of Lee and Jackson are indeed removed from the CUNY Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city will conduct a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property” after Charlottesville.

Here’s a guide to the dozens of statues, markers and other monuments of the Confederacy across the country that have, or may, come down.

Three House Democrats, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan, are leading a charge to censure Trump for saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.

House Democrats may push for federal funding to groups combatting neo-Nazis and white supremacists in response to Charlottesville.

Hundreds of people marched with lit candles across the University of Virginia campus last night in a contrasting demonstration from the torchlight white nationalist parade last Friday night.

Trump’s relationship with the American business community suffered a major setback yesterday as the president was forced to shut down his major business advisory councils after corporate leaders repudiated his comments on the violence in Charlottesville.

The hatred and bigotry that descended on Charlottesville when a coalition of white supremacist groups clashed with anti-racist and anti-fascist protestors will not be allowed to happen in WNY, leaders vowed during a prayer vigil at Buffalo’s Durham Memorial AME Zion Church.

The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news source that critics say is the nation’s top hate website, found itself virtually kicked out of the country earlier this week, as both GoDaddy and Google refused to host the site anymore after its incendiary coverage of protests in Charlottesville. But it found a new home – in Russia.

The mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting in Charlottesville, urged mourners at a memorial service to “make my daughter’s death worthwhile” by confronting injustice and channeling “anger into righteous action.”

The mayor of Phoenix scolded Trump for planning a rally there, suggesting the president is aiming to “inflame emotions” following a deadly white supremacist rally in Virginia by pardoning a controversial Phoenix sheriff.

Trump’s short-lived communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, has made a donation to a similarly colorful character — Bo Dietl, the former NYPD detective mounting an unlikely independent NYC mayoral bid.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon claimed he wants to “crush” the far-right — calling them “losers” and “a collection of clowns” during a surprisingly candid interview with a liberal magazine.

More >

Extras

Trump disbanded two of his economic councils after a wave of defections from high-profile CEOs, announcing on Twitter: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”

Also on Twitter, Trump criticized Amazon.com over taxes and jobs and accused the global retailer, without offering evidence, of hurting U.S. localities and causing job losses

Jewish members of Trump’s administration remained largely silent after the president came to the defense of nationalist and right-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Va., who had chanted anti-Semitic slogans and demeaned the president’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Vice President Pence will end his visit to South America early and fly home tomorrow, after Trump sparked enormous controversy for his comments following the deadly violence in Charlottesville.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions on Charlottesville: “It very well could be a civil rights violation or a hate crime, and there might be other charges that could be brought.”

Trump’s longtime aide Hope Hicks will serve as the interim White House director of communications and will help the president find a permanent person for the job, the administration said.

The federal government will make crucial Obamacare-related subsidy payments to health insurers in August despite threats by Trump, a White House spokesman said.

In response to widespread criticism of a racial comment made by Success Academy’s chairman, Dan Loeb, the leader of the charter network, Eva Moskowitz, sent a letter to parents, teachers and staff that both defended Loeb and strongly condemned his remarks.

A flash grenade accidentially exploded in the parking garage of 26 Federal Plaza, injuring an FBI agent, law enforcement officials said.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino held true to his word this morning when he vetoed a bill that its supporters said would have protected undocumented immigrants in the area.

The top dentist for New York’s youth prisons has pleaded guilty to official misconduct stemming from his arrest in November on charges that he said he was working on state time while he was actually treating patients at his private practices in Amsterdam and Saratoga Springs.

Democratic Nassau Legislator and county executive candidate Laura Curran called on County Executive Edward Mangano to increase the hiring of police cadets to help combat the county’s heroin and opioid epidemic and to clamp down on gang violence.

Not surprisingly, the views on racial equality and whether it’ actually achievable in this country vary widely among blacks and whites, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he’s “doing well” after undergoing emergency knee surgery following a fall over the weekend – still in the hospital but, already up and walking around.

Louis DiMarco Jr., a common councilor from Rome, was convicted of stealing nearly $20,000 in unemployment insurance benefits and has resigned from his post, the AG’s office said.

In the early days of the de Blasio administration, commissioners and employees across city agencies solicited the advice of the firm Capalino + Company to shape policy, raise funds for events and answer technical questions on myriad aspects of municipal government, according to thousands of pages of emails reviewed by POLITICO New York.

State health inspectors found nearly 100 critical violations by food vendors at the New York State Fair last year. No one got sick, they said.

The funeral service for Wayne Bennett, Schenectady’s public safety commissioner and the former State Police superintendent, will be held on Saturday at St. Mary’s Church in Albany.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are reportedly enjoying their family vacation in Canada.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is on a family vacation in Rhode Island.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to depart Trump Tower this afternoon to return to his golf club in New Jersey, where he will sign the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

Vice President Mike Pence departs Argentina for Chile, where he will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Michelle Bachelet, followed by a joint press conference and lunch. Pence will then meet with U.S. Embassy staff and their families in Chile.

In the evening, Pence will deliver keynote remarks at a dinner on Advancing Prosperity & Economic Growth Throughout the Western Hemisphere honoring AACCLA’s 50th Anniversary & AmCham Chile’s 100th Anniversary.

At 8 a.m., City & State hosts the 2017 On Education conference featuring NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall and others, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., Manhattan.

At 8:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul hosts a roundtable discussion with women leaders, Parkview Restaurant, 145 Front St., Owego.

At 9 a.m., Assemblyman Walter Mosley announces the “Love Yourself” Brooklyn Peace Concert, in partnership with Sen. Jesse Hamilton, District Leader Geoffrey Davis, and other community members, as a response to tragedies at Brooklyn’s J’Ouvert Parade in past years, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn.

At 9:30 a.m., Hochul, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and members of the Broome-Tioga Suffrage Anniversary Committee announce upcoming events, Tioga County Courthouse, 20 Court St., Owego.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Department of Environmental Protection holds a public hearing, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Claudia Tenney tours Family Health Network for National Health Center Week and receives an award, 17 Main St., Suite 302, Cortland.

Also at 10 a.m., Republican Nassau County executive candidate Jack Martins and Curtis Sliwa will hold a press conference discussing issues in the race, Mineola Village Hall, 55 Washington Ave., Mineola, Long Island.

At 11 a.m., Hochul announces the winners of the 76West Clean Energy Competition, Double Tree by Hilton, 225 Water St., Binghamton.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC mayoral candidate Sal Albanese holds a press conference on the increase in homeless students and outlines a plan for “truly affordable housing” and a pied-a-terre tax, outside City Hall gates, Broadway and Murray Street, Manhattan.

At noon, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie makes an announcement regarding mass transit and transportation infrastructure in Westchester County, White Plains Train Station, 16 Ferris Ave., White Plains.

Also at noon, Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Laura Curran pledges to uphold the Pre-Trump Rule ensuring taxpayer funded infrastructure projects are built to accommodate effects of climate change if she’s elected, the Boardwalk at Riverside Boulevard, Long Beach.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Corning Community College Health Education Center, Corning Community College, 132 Denison Parkway East, Corning.

At 2:30 p.m., enney tours the Greater Binghamton Airport and announces a federal grant, Greater Binghamton Airport, 2534 Airport Road, Johnson City.

At 4 p.m., the Black Institute President and Founder Bertha Lewis calls on the NYC Parks Department to “stop discriminatory practices toward minority business owners,” with members of Wallball World, U.S. Wallball Association, current No. 1 worldwide wallball professional athlete Timbo Gonzales and others, Macombs Dam Park, E. 157 Street and W. 161 Street, the Bronx.

At 5 p.m., Hochul joins WNY clergy and community leaders at a prayer vigil in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Durham Memorial AME Zion Church, 174 E Eagle St., Buffalo.

Also at 5 p.m., a “Fighting for Our Local Jobs!” rally, organized by Rep. Adriano Espaillat, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Sen. Marisol Alcantra and Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa is held, corner of 179th Street and Broadway, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Sen. Catharine Young host the Saratoga Salute, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs.

At 6 p.m., the Suffolk County Republican Committee hosts the Chairman Club’s Fundraising Reception, featuring Reps. Peter King and Lee Zeldin, Tellers American Chophouse, 605 Main St., Islip.

Also at 6 p.m., NYC Councilman Rodriguez hosts a rally against the developer SJM Partners, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Workforce 1 and Marshall’s, corner of 179th Street and Broadway, Bronx.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump abandoned his measured tone and reverted to blaming both sides for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., at one point questioning whether the movement to pull down Confederate statues would lead to the desecration of memorials to George Washington.

In so doing, Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville.

Members of Trump’s own party quickly condemned his statements, calling on him to stand up to the hate groups instead of encouraging them.

The chief executive of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, criticized Trump in front of his 1.5 million American employees, widening a rift between the White House and the business community that has been growing since the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville.

Trump was asked whether the attack on Heather Heyer in Charlottesville was “terrorism.” His response may make it more difficult for Virginia to prosecute James Fields for murder (already charged) or the United States to prosecute him for federal crimes, experts said.

Trump left Steve Bannon twisting in the wind, saying “we’ll see what happens” when asked whether his top strategist will remain in the White House, though he did call Bannon a “friend of mine…not a racist, I can tell you that.”

Premiums for the most popular health insurance plans would shoot up 20 percent next year, and federal budget deficits would increase by $194 billion in the coming decade, if Trump carried out his threat to end certain subsidies paid to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office said.

In the wake of the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in numerous injuries and the death of one anti-racist protester, Cuomo called for higher penalties for New Yorkers who incite, or participate in, a riot.

The president announced that he had signed a sweeping executive order to eliminate and streamline some permitting regulations and to speed construction of roads, bridges and pipelines, declaring this would fix a “badly broken” infrastructure system in America and bring manufacturing jobs back to the country.

Former President Barack Obama’s three-part tweet of a Nelson Mandela quote in the wake of the Charlottesville rally that left one counter-protester dead is the most liked tweet ever.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was the keynote speaker at a naturalization ceremony at the Freedom Tower, and was feeling pretty proud of all that is America…then came Trump’s latest press conference.

Neighbors of Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski say he threatened to use his “political clout” to make their lives “a nightmare” over an ongoing land dispute, according to a new lawsuit.

Jared Kushner’s real estate company systematically screwed some Brooklyn tenants out of rent-stabilized leases, a new lawsuit charged.

Health-insurance rates for individuals in New York will increase next year on average by about 15 percent, as well as 9 percent for small group plans, which is lower than the 17 percent and 11.5 percent sought by the industry.

The state’s rate decision, made by DFS, will not affect the vast majority of New York residents, who get their health insurance through a big employer, Medicare, Medicaid or the state’s Essential Plan.

Diocese officials announced they would be removing a plaque honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee that has long been affixed to a tree outside a Brooklyn church following the events in Charlottesville last weekend and renewed concerns over Confederate symbols and statues.

One person was arrested during a second wave of protests at Trump Tower yesterday, police said.

The FDA has filed court papers in support of an effort to overturn a New York City law requiring calorie counts to be posted by certain establishments — at least the second time the Trump administration has inserted itself into a local case.

A federal district court judge has ordered Costco to pay Tiffany more than $19 million for selling generic diamond engagement rings that were marketed using Tiffany’s name.

Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, 85, said that on Sept. 5 he will resign the seat he’s held the past 42 years, citing age, health, and the demands of the job as chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee as key reasons for his decision.

More >

Extras

President Donald Trump delivered an unusual and fiery press conference at Trump Tower in which he reverted to blaming both sides for racially charged violence in Virginia.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sent a strong message that hate groups will not be welcome in his city ahead of a planned “Free Speech Rally” that will reportedly take place on Boston Common next week.

The NAACP of Syracuse and Onondaga County called for Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco to apologize for remarks he made in a radio interview about the race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Given the fractious tenure of outgoing Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, the candidates vying to replace her have been trying to outdo one another in how collaborative they can be, which is keeping the race pretty tame so far.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has a new re-election ad out.

The DMV has not done enough to prevent automotive repair shops and inspection stations from operating without valid registrations, putting consumers at an increased risk to be scammed by dishonest businesses, according to an audit issued by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

Congestion pricing is a heavy lift at the Capitol, political observers say, and it will be impossible to fully assess the proposal’s prospects until more is known about Cuomo’s actual plan and the extent to which he’ll embrace his own trial balloon.

Democrats for Education Reform President Shavar Jeffries, one of the charter school sector’s most prominent black leaders, resigned from the Success Academy Charter Schools’ board of directors earlier this summer after criticizing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

A new Ron Perlman movie is filming in Syracuse this week; crews set up scenes for filming “Asher,” starring Perlman as an aging hitman who seeks redemption, last night and early this morning.

Mark Elliott is suing White Plains Democratic City Committee leaders for striking his name from a petition supporting a Democratic challenger for mayor because he put his address down as being in “WP” instead of spelling out White Plains.

RIP Milton Mollen, who led a commission that found that the New York City Police Department had been “willfully blind” to drug-related corruption by organized bands of rogue officers in the 1980s and early ’90s. He died yesterday at his home in Manhattan at the age of 97.

RIP Wayne Bennett, the retired State Police superintendent who went on to lead the city’s police and fire departments for a decade, who died today at the age of 71.

The financial troubles for Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, which is veering toward bankruptcy, come at a time when the state is mired in its own problems, including going weeks without a budget.

Charter Communications is asking state regulators to effectively freeze administrative complaints that it filed against Verizon and other utilities in the state after not being able to get their cable wires attached to poles.

Factory activity in New York surged this month to the highest level in nearly three years.

The latest addition to the State Fair food roundup: The milky bun.

Prince is being honored with a custom color. The Prince Estate and the Pantone Color Institute teamed up to create the hue called “Love Symbol #2.”

Stewart-Cousins Won’t Call for Loeb Cash Returns

From the Morning Memo:

State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins declined to call for recipients of campaign cash from Dan Loeb – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – to return the money, even after the hedge fund manager has been roundly criticized for making a racist statement about her on Facebook. 

In her first TV interview since the incident last week, in which Loeb made a KKK reference in connection with the African American senator, Stewart-Cousins said all elected officials need to be circumspect about the origins of the political contributions they receive. 

“I think that people have to be extremely concerned, we all as public officials have to be extremely concerned, about who is giving us money and what their expectations are,” the senator said.

“And certainly once one reveals who they are, then I think it’s incumbent on anyone to take a look at whether or not this money should be kept. And again, these are individual decisions.”

Stewart-Cousins did specifically note that Loeb has given money to the IDC, (basically echoing my comments on the matter), and then got in a dig about the Senate Republicans’ blocking campaign finance reform, saying: 

“Tthe reality is that we are all here for public service; we are here because there’s a bigger agenda. We should be here because we care about what happens to New York and what happens to New Yorkers, and we should be prepared to work together as public servants to do that, despite the outsized influence of money, which, because our Republicans continue to stop any notion of campaign finance reform, we continue to deal with.”

Loeb’s financial support of the Senate Republicans has been widely reported, as has his contribution to the IDC and his donations to a pro-charter school independent expenditure that spent heavily on behalf of members of both conferences in the last election cycle and helped keep them in power. 

Loeb has also contributed a heft chunk of change over the years to Gov. Andrew Cuomo – more than $170,000 when money given by the hedge fund manager’s wife is also tallied. Though he has rebuked Loeb for his racist statements, the governor has so far not said anything about returning these contributions. 

(FWIW, Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco said yesterday he doesn’t see any reason why the governor needs to give back Loeb’s money, though he deemed the racist remarks made against Stewart-Cousins “outrageous”). 

Stewart-Cousins joined us just hours after attending a Harlem rally at which fellow Democrats expressed their support for her and for her ascension to majority leader of the Senate. The event was not attended by the governor, though he did send his top counsel, Alphonso David. 

Also attending the rally was Deputy Senate Minority Leader Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, whom an anonymous top Cuomo aide bashed to Ken Lovett of the NY Daily News, essentially blaming Gianaris for the failure of the so-called regular Democrats and the IDC to come to a peace agreement due to his ongoing rocky relationship with IDC Leader Jeff Klein, of the Bronx. 

Stewart-Cousins rejected the notion that Gianaris is to blame, and reiterated (multiple times) the importance of having Democrats come together to claim what she sees as their rightful place in the majority, though a current vacancy – via the seat given up last week by former Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Daniel Squadron – temporarily complicates matters. 

For the record, Stewart-Cousins says she doesn’t have a favorite in the battle to replace Squadron, and feels comfortable with the process of having the party leaders of Manhattan and Brooklyn select a candidate to run in a yet-to-be-called special election.