On Saturday, February 10th, I had the pleasure of being a vendor at the 12th Annual Black History Celebration at New Rochelle High School, commemorating Brown v. Board of Education and the 70th anniversary of school desegregation. Several elected officials came through to show their support. County Executive George Latimer, who is challenging Congressman Jamaal Bowman, was among them.
Latimer’s appearance to shake hands and kiss babies was met with some support and then some opposition. It started amicably with Latimer taking the opportunity to spread his message but quickly turned combative and the CE became irritated by questions from voters and decided to get into a verbal confrontation with me because of it.
Latimer was questioned by one woman about how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) donated over $600,000 to George Latimer in the latest filings, over 40% of his fundraising total. A fact that has been heavily covered by City & State NY, The Intercept, and several other publications.
One New Rochelle voter stated, “But you are taking money from the devil.” Mr. Latimer responded, “Bowman is taking money from the devil too, he taking money from Hamas.”
When asked for proof to back up his statement, Latimer pulled out his phone to show her an article he couldn’t find, took her email, and promised to email the female voter the proof. When she asked that he didn’t forget to send the email, he replied to her, “You probably won’t read it or believe it anyway,” as he walked away.
During his interactions with some voters in attendance, Latimer decided it was a good idea to drag me into the conversation and pointed to me seated at the next table, telling me to ‘listen [to him] if I wanted to do more fair and balanced reporting.’ As I said, I was a vendor at the event selling my book and hadn’t said anything to the county executive at that point and would have just shook his hand and kept it moving, this was not the time or place for a political debate. While I was being civil, he decided to question the credibility of myself and Black Westchester. His irritation at being questioned by voters turned to an attack on the major Black media voice in the county at a Black History Month event.
Latimer was then asked about Black Westchester’s coverage of the urging of Republicans and Jewish GOP voters to change their party affiliation in an effort to tip the scales against Congressman Bowman and disenfranchise the Democratic voter in its primary. The GOP calls to vote for George Latimer, who received the endorsement of AIPAC, according to The Jewish Insider. This was not a smear campaign from Black Westchester, as he suggested; this has been covered in the NY Post, The Intercept, News 12, Lohud, CBS News, The Washington Examiner, and others.
Latimer claimed he rebuffed the claim he attended a MAGA fundraiser, claiming Black Westchester Damon K Jones was spreading misinformation and that I was continuing to further repeat the lie in support of Congressman Bowman.
I have been very clear that this is much bigger than Congressman Bowman’s re-election bid and even the CD-16 Congressional race. Republicans are encouraging their members to change their party affiliation to interfere with the Democratic Primary, the way they did in 2013 in their attempted takeover of the Westchester Independent Party. That ended up in a lawsuit where the judge ruled that 3700 Republicans be purged from the Independent Party rolls. A few thousand Republicans can tip the scale in a major way, taking power from the wishes of Democratic voters. Dems need to wake up because if the GOP is successful, do not think it will end there.
For the record, I have been repeatedly adamant that Republicans should have no influence in the Democratic Primary and have reported about the attempted GOP takeover of the Westchester Democratic Party, which we addressed on our Sunday, January 28th episode of People Before Politics Radio Show, Latimer admits he never listened to himself. This has been the main point I have been trying to bang home in editorials, on our radio show, and to George himself, once he chose to confront me. A fact he could not debate with me, but he chose to smear our name publicly instead.
Latimer decided to call Damon out on Facebook briefly until Damon questioned Latimer if he felt all Muslims were members of Hamas, which he refused to answer. Damon also questioned Latimer about hiring the union-busting public relations firm, Global Strategy Group (GSG). But despite having Damon’s cell phone number and a relationship with him, including having Damon on an advisory board on police and criminal justice reform, Latimer chose to call me out because he doesn’t have the heart to face Damon.
In an effort of fairness, I invited Latimer to appear on our show to discuss the issue with Damon and share his perspective on the matter. Latimer has appeared on PBP Radio several times in the past decade, starting when he was running against Astorino. Latimer admittedly denied the invitation. Instead, he chose to get into a shouting match with me and those who were questioning him, as if to suggest how dare they have to audacity to question him. He is a candidate and an elected official; if he cannot tolerate having the taxpayers who pay his salary question him, he may need to choose another career path. Maybe it is time to retire, George.
I have been very vocal that if Westchester Republicans do not believe Bowman deserves to be re-elected, why aren’t they spending all this money to challenge him in the general election in November with a candidate of their own as they try to turn the seat and keep control of the House of Representatives? Instead, they decided to invade the Democratic Primary. To sway the primary in the direction they want and as long as that benefits Latimer, he does not have a problem with it, as he defyingly expressed to local democratic voters who questioned him on why he was running at New Rochelle High School during an annual Black History Month event on Saturday, February 10th. If Westchester Democrats feel Latimer can do a better job, they should be free to vote for him in the Democratic Primary without Republican interference. I stand by that.
In November 2017, Latimer said President Donald Trump’s unpopularity played a role in his success in unseating Republican incumbent Rob Astorino. “I think it’s that people want to know that they have a government that responds to them and not just talks to them—talks down to them,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
Just seven years later, in 2024, receiving money from the Donald Trump-controlled Republican Party and having them enroll in an attempted party takeover of the Westchester Democratic Party is fine with him because it benefits him. In 2017, Latimer portrayed his opponent, Astorino, as a divisive backer of President Donald Trump whose values were out of touch with Westchester County, the home of Hillary Clinton. But in 2024, he will gladly accept all the money and support from the Trump-led GOP! He felt he could talk down to some voters who questioned him Saturday at NRHS.
Voters need to ask: What has changed for the once-proven progressive vote-getter? Backing and supporting Trump in 2017 was bad, but accepting more than half a million in one quarter from AIPAC and receiving the support of Trump’s party in 2024 is okay. As former late-night talk show host Arsenio Hall used to say nightly, “Things That Make You Go HMMMMM!”
Other questions that need to be asked since the GOP wants to turn the seat red and maintain control of the House are: why are they supporting Latimer instead of putting up one of their own candidates? What has Latimer promised them for their support? My mother also told me all money isn’t good money. Has Latimer sold us out? Has he sold his soul to the Trump-led party he was very outspoken against in 2017 in his effort to unseat Astorino? Why won’t he come on our show to face Damon, if he feels what Damon wrote was misinformation? He also talks about transparency. But refusing to appear to face Black Westchester if what we wrote isn’t true, speaking down to voters who question you, and then sulking off like a spoiled child who doesn’t get their way, isn’t exactly what I call transparency!
Can you truly be progressive if you align yourself with the Trump-led GOP? Can you truly be a progressive if 40% of your campaign finance comes from a MAGA GOP SuperPAC? Especially after many of the progressives in Westchester who supported Latimer urged him not to divide the party by challenging Bowman whom they support. After he practically ran out of the building, many who watched what unfolded asked what his real inspiration was in challenging Congressman Bowman. It was his response to voters and taxpayers who wanted answers and his verbal attack on Black Westchester that left many in attendance scratching their heads, wondering if this was the real George Latimer?
IT’S TIME FOR SOME REAL TALK!!! Stay tuned for a special edition of the Black Westchester Power Hour this week to address this further!