Press Releases

What They're Saying: Fiery GOP Debate All About Trump, Highlights Inter-Party Strife

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2022

NEW YORK, NY: In last night's GOP gubernatorial debate, New York Republican candidates attempted to out-MAGA each other in a shameless display of loyalty to Donald Trump and the far-right. The debate featured everything you'd expect from the extremist candidates: pro-gun stances, anti-abortion agendas, anti-LGBTQ stances, and downplaying the January 6th insurrection. 

Almost all candidates praised former President Donald Trump in order to prove their allegiance. Zeldin said, "President Trump told his supporters to go peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol," and echoed support for a Trump run in 2024. Former White House staffer Andrew Giuliani said Mr. Trump was "a great president."

The candidates doubled down on their anti-LGBTQ beliefs, with Zeldin stating he "does not believe the classroom in New York State should be used to advance an agenda that is not age appropriate," in reference to LGBTQ history being taught in schools. Andrew Giuliani referenced Florida's "Don't Say Gay" Bill and has recently alluded to bringing a similar version of the bill into New York.

Read a roundup of the coverage below:

Associated Press: NY GOP governor candidates debate crime, economy and Trump

Zeldin, a Trump ally and an Army veteran who has represented New York's 1st Congressional District since 2015, touted his support from the National Rifle Association and said he wanted to repeal a 2013 state gun control law that broadened the definition of assault weapons and required universal background checks.

Gotham Gazette: Republican Candidates for Governor Meet for Fiery Debate

As Congress holds public hearings on the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington D.C., nearly all Republicans have come to Trump’s defense over his role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election results by force. At the debate, the story was much the same, as the candidates largely said the hearings were a distraction from the kitchen-table issues that matter more to Americans.

The New York Times: Fealty to Trump Arises as Litmus Test in G.O.P. Debate for N.Y. Governor

The explosive exchange typified much of the back-and-forth as the candidates sought to prove and polish their conservative bona fides on topics ranging from gun control to abortion to their respect for former President Donald J. Trump.

New York Daily News: Sparks fly at debate in New York GOP primary for governor: 'You're on the wrong debate stage, man'

Zeldin has the backing of the state Republican Party and has been a loyal supporter of Trump. He voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election won by President Biden. Giuliani's father, Rudy, led Trump's legal war to overturn the election.

[Giuliani] said Trump was a "great president" and expressed hopes that the 45th commander-in-chief will run for the White House again. Zeldin echoed support for a Trump run in 2024, before turning his focus to blistering attacks on Wilson.

New York Post: 'You’re a Never Trumper,' says Zeldin; 'Then why'd you ask me to run?' says Wilson in fiery NY GOP debate

Mr. Zeldin has never had private sector jobs. He does not understand how businesses work… Wilson for his party, hardly shied away from labeling Zeldin as a career politician who went with the political winds during his time in state and federal government.