In 2016, 2017, 2018, as well as 2019, “Crazy/Stupid Republican of the Day” presented profiles of the sitting U.S. House Representative from New York’s 1st Congressional District, Lee Zeldin, who barely won his first term in office in 2014 with 53% of the vote. Way back in 2008, Zeldin made a first disastrous attempt at getting elected to Congress, and instead, with the winds of the Tea Party Hot-Air machine blowing at his back, he did manage to get elected as a New York State Senator in 2010. And what makes Zeldin stand out in particular is his vomit-inducing levels of partisanship, as relates to his military record (we’re grateful for his service, but not his attitude). Zeldin’s taken up the sort of banner once waved by former Congressman Allen West, where he’s the first person in Congress to puff out his chest and accuse Democrats of not supporting the troops enough, to attack them for not caring enough about national security in fighting the war on terror, or to take care of veterans when they get home.
He’s also great about running off onto Fox News to do so, and talk a big talk about how the Obama administration’s strategies were counterproductive to defeating ISIS, in particular, his belief that we should ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States, already fear-mongering scenarios where those refugees strap on suicide vests to attack us on the floor of the House. There’s just one problem…. The New York Post noticed that Rep. Zeldin has a nasty habit of missing half the meetings of the House Foreign Affairs committee that would have been keeping him abreast on the subject, and two thirds of the meetings that he could have attended in relation to ISIS and Syria. So perhaps folks should be taking his “expert” opinion on these matters with a grain of salt. Well, that and that he’s better than his counterparts across the aisle on national security, because if he was, he wouldn’t have a vote against funding the Department of Homeland Security as part of a petty vote to thumb his nose at the Obama administration’s immigration policy (see below for more details). He also was part of a GOP effort to even block debate back in December of 2015 regarding Democratic efforts to deny gun sales to people on the “no fly list” for suspicion of terrorism, so there’s that to factor in.
Rep. Zeldin was one of the first people in Congress to offer an endorsement to Donald Trump for president, and while most Congressman have gone out of their way to avoid talking to the press about the big bad bigoted cheeto puff, Zeldin didn’t have the good sense to say, “No comment” and get the heck out of dodge. Instead, after Trump attacked Gonzalo Curiel, the judge in the Trump University case, as being biased because he was of Mexican heritage, Zeldin was on CNN to try and defend the Donald from what many Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, begrudgingly admitted to be the textbook definition of racism. Plus, Zeldin done goofed his riposte. Not only did Zeldin voice his disappointment with PAUL RYAN and not Trump, he refused to withdraw his support for Trump, and instead tried countering that he thought you could “easily argue that President Obama is racist with his policies and rhetoric”.
On November 2nd, 2016 when all the polls showed his hero the Gropenfuhrer was going to be losing to Hillary Clinton on election Day, Lee Zeldin even released a statement that the Clinton Foundation was “the largest white collar crime in America”. Which, given the fraud around Trump’s own charitable organization, was pretty ballsy of Zeldin to say.
His entire voting record reeks with that sort of one-sided fanaticism, with votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act or defund Planned Parenthood, and that was just as a Congressional freshman. Rep. Zeldin currently is in the unenviable position of being one of Donald Trump’s “favorites” in Washington, and gets invited to private dinners with him.
Zeldin barely survived re-election in 2018, winning office again with only 51% of the vote. Back in Washington, he has returned to toadying for Donald Trump.
- January 23rd, 2019: Rep. Zeldin voted against HR 648, because he was gleefully enjoying the longest government shutdown in history.
- February 28th, 2019: Lee Zeldin votes against HR 1112, a bill which would have required universal background checks on all firearm purchases, and close the gun show loophole.
- March 7th, 2019: Zeldin votes against HR 183, a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism as a hateful extension of intolerance.
- March 14th, 2019: Rep. Zeldin votes against HJR 46, which sane members of Congress voted for to reject Donald Trump’s “national emergency” regarding the U.S. border and his attempts to reallocate funds for a border wall without Congressional approval.
- June 4th, 2019: Zeldin votes against the Dreamers Act, because he’s too xenophobic and partisan to care about immigration reform.
- July 16th, 2019: Lee Zeldin votes against a resolution to condemn Donald Trump for his racist statements that four people of color in Congress should “go back where they came from”.
- October 23rd, 2019: Zeldin is one of 41 Republicans who, while staring down the possibility of Donald Trump being impeached, stage a ridiculous publicity stunt in response by crashing a classified impeachment inquiry hearing for a “protest”.
- December 18th, 2019: Rep. Zeldin ignores his Congressional duty to hold a president who has been proven to commit high crimes and misdemeanors accountable and votes against the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Perhaps our least favorite new thing to report about Lee Zeldin is that he finds one of his top priorities in Congress to just be an outright Islamophobic bigot to fellow Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who he named as his reason for voting against Congress’ condemnation of anti-Semitism because it didn’t single her out by name, and whom a few weeks later in April of 2019, he accused her of “targeting Jewish people” after she voiced criticism of Trump administration official and all-around hatemonger Stephen Miller. Rep. Omar has brilliantly responded to that line of attack by ignoring him and joining a new Black-Jewish Caucus with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Brenda Lawrence. Still, Zeldin has not relented, and has claimed her intent is to “poison” the new group.
Zeldin also was a cheerleader for Donald Trump from the very start of the impeachment inquiry into his illegal withholding of military aid for Ukraine, trying to pretend that Trump wasn’t leveraging the President of Ukraine into beginning a sham investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden (when there’s goddamn transcript of it), calling the effort to impeach a “charade”, while effectively shoving his fingers in his ears and yelling, “LALALALA” as a defense of the worst occupant of the Oval Office in our nation’s history.
We don’t know if being a hateful bag of d***s and trying to bully a freshman member of Congress based on her religion is a winning campaign strategy in the 2020 elections, but we definitely know our country will be better without men like Lee Zeldin affecting its politics.
One Year Ago, June 21st, 2019: Lee Zeldin (NY)… 2019 Update
Two Year Ago, June 21st, 2018: Lee Zeldin (NY)… 2018 Update
Three Years Ago, June 21st, 2017: Lee Zeldin (NY)… 2017 Update
Four Years Ago, June 21st, 2016: Lee Zeldin (NY)… Original Profile
Five Years Ago, June 21st, 2015: Steve Vaillancourt (NH)