GOP Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis—She Refuses to Counter Trump’s Election Lies May 21, 2021
The 5/12/2021 purge of Conservative stalwart Cong. Liz Cheney’s (R-at-Large WY) from the ranks of the GOP “leadership” told us everything we needed to know about the present Republican Party. The GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mar-a-Lago “Emperor” Donald Trump and all the lies he stands for and promotes. Cheney was ousted from GOP leadership for daring to say that Mad Donald’s constant statements that the 2020 election was somehow fraudulent or stolen is nothing but a “big lie” that undermines our democracy. Cheney has repeatedly stated, contrary to Trump, his Fox News disciples, and most GOP legislators that Democrat Joe Biden is our legitimate 46th President. Cheney also had the nerve to join nine other House GOPers in impeaching Demagogue Donald for inciting the attempted 1/06/2021 Capitol coup that killed five people. Now Trump’s wacko congressional allies, including Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Jody Hice (R-GA), and Andrew Clyde (R-GA) are pushing an absurd lie. The Trump Capitol rioters were basically “peaceful tourists” just “visiting” the Capitol on 1/06/21 “just like any ‘normal’ tourists (See cnn.com, Raju, 5/14/21).’” Bet on this lie to spread fast among the majority of rabid GOP Trump supporters as well, despite all the visual evidence to the contrary.
On 5/14/2021, the House GOP attempted to get “beyond” the stolen election controversy by putting in Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as Cheney’s replacement as GOP Conference Chair, the #3 “Team Red” House leadership position. That move has backfired. Cheney has become a heroine to the “Never Trumpers,” demoralized GOPers, and independents. Cheney is now free to make her case for the truth against Trumpism in many different forums beyond Capitol Hill, including on GOP propaganda channel Fox News (see nytimes.com, Martin, J., 5/12/21, Cillizza, C., cnn.com, 5/14/21). She has ignited, IMHO, a civil war in the GOP instead of getting her party united against Biden. She is giving Democrats a better chance to show themselves as a truly reality-based party working to address major national problems under Biden. That Democratic position will, hopefully, serve them well in the 2022 mid-term elections.
However, most House GOPers, whether from ultra-“Red” districts and even swing ones, continue to endorse Donald’s claims, with no basis, that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Many hope this issue will go away, and dislike Cheney for bringing it up. They want Trump and his MAGA base not to tear them apart, while swing voters who dislike Trump can, hopefully, forget this matter in 2022. GOP Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis rebuffed Cheney’s demands that Republicans should push back on Trump’s election lies. In her words, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You cannot be chair (of the GOP conference) when you disagree with the opinions of the vast majority of the conference…I want to talk about what’s in the best interest of moving this country forward… That’s what I want to talk about. You guys (the media) want to keep talking about Donald Trump.” When reporters asked Rep. Malliotakis if she believed that the election was stolen from Trump, which Donald still prattles about daily, Malliotakis began to walk away. As she left the reporters, she stated, “Are we still talking about this (cnn.com, Raju & Rimmer, 5/13/21).” Who is Cong. Malliotakis?
First-term GOP Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (40) currently represents New York’s 11th Congressional District (CD). The present NY 11th includes all of the borough of Staten Island plus neighborhoods in the southwest corner of Brooklyn. The 11th’s Brooklyn neighborhoods contain Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, and part of Bensonhurst. Staten Island (Richmond County) has the country’s largest percentage of Italian Americans, and the 11th’s part of Brooklyn has a similar ethnic composition. John Travolta danced in the “Saturday Night Fever” film on the streets of Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge. Staten Island has a home ownership rate of 70%, double that of New York City as a whole (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac). Staten Island remains NY City’s whitest borough, with its fewest immigrants. In 2019, the whole 11th CD was 73.3% white, just 8.2% black, 16.1% Hispanic, and 12.8% Asian. The 11th is the only congressional district in NYC that leans GOP in national elections. The GOP has held the 11th’s congressional seat for all but two terms since 1980. The NY 11th has a 2021 PVI, Partisan Voting Index, of R+7. The 11th CD is the sole NYC congressional district now represented by “Team Red.” In 2016, Donald beat Hillary in the 11th by 9 points, 53%-44%. In 2020, Donald defeated Biden here by 11 points, 55%-44% (See Cohen & Cook 2020). Fed up with NYC’s high income tax rate, Staten Islanders voted to secede in 1993 from the rest of NYC, but the state legislature failed to carry out their wish. However, in that same election, Staten Islanders provided the margin of victory for GOPer Rudy Giuliani in the NY mayor’s race, which began his controversial political career.
Manhattan native, Nicole Malliotakis moved to Staten Island at age two. She is a GOP “threefer.” As a woman, she appeals to a group that the GOP strongly wants. She is also the daughter of immigrant parents, which “counters” the party’s Trumpian xenophobic image. Her mother left Cuba in 1959, following Fidel Castro’s rise to power, while her father was a Greek immigrant. Malliotakis was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith and proudly counts herself as a member of both these ethnic groups (Minsky, P., memoirs-assemblywoman-nicole-malliotakis, 11/25/19, “Staten Island Advance, 11/02/10, assembly.state.ny.us, 10/11/14). She received her Bachelors Degree from Seton Hall University and an MBA from Wagner College (silive.com, Randall, J., 11/09/10). From 2003-2004, Malliotakis worked as a community liaison for former GOP State Senator John Marchi. Marchi, known as a staunch conservative ideologue, represented Staten Island for 50 years and unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of NY in 1969 and 1973. He was a strong advocate for Staten Island’s secession from NYC (nytimes.com, 4/27/09). From 2004-2006, Malliotakis was an aide to NY GOP Gov. George Pataki. She also worked as Consolidated Edison Company of New York’s public affairs manager (Randall, silive.com).
In 2010, Malliotakis won election to the NY State Assembly where she defeated a two-term Dem. incumbent by 10 points. She was one of two GOPers from NYC serving in the Assembly. She fought to keep a senior center in Staten Island from being closed and argued against recent toll increases by the Port Authority. She was handily re-elected in 2012 and 2014 (silive.com, Padnani, A., 11/03/10, “Brooklyn Reporter,” 8/07/19, ABC News, 12/30/14, Randall, 2/12/11, silive.com). In 11/2015, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) named Malliotakis the NY chair of his 2016 presidential campaign (silive.com, Sanders, A.). Once Rubio lost, Malliotakis voted for Trump in 2016 (Coltin, 9/15/17, cityandstateny.com). In 2017, Malliotakis ran as the GOP mayoral candidate against incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and lost by 38 points, but took Staten Island by a 70% margin (newyork.cbslocal.com).
In 2020, Malliotakis challenged freshman Democratic incumbent Max Rose. Rose had won the 11th CD in a 2018 upset. In 2020, this race was considered the only competitive one in NYC. Malliotakis endorsed Trump in the 2020 election. Trump constantly tweeted out endorsements for her and called Rose a “puppet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a fraud.” Malliotakis echoed those comments (Nelson & Bowden, nypost.com, 8/14/20). Malliotakis defeated Rose, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Afghanistan veteran, by a 6.92% margin, 53% v. 46.8%. It was widely believed that Rose’s participation in a George Floyd protest hurt his reelection chances. The 11th CD contains many NYPD officers and their families who believed that Rose’s participation in the protest was an endorsement of “defunding the police.” Rose was also hurt by Trump’s carrying Staten Island with 57% of the vote, the only NYC borough where Trump managed even 30% of the vote (Adler, cityandstateny.com, 11/05/20).
Malliotakis, the daughter of immigrants, opposes sanctuary city status for undocumented NYC immigrants. She opposes giving drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants (Alexander, brooklynreporter.com, 8/07/19). When running for mayor, she did not identify as either pro-life or pro-choice, but when she ran for Congress, she identified as pro-life (Adams, brooklynpaper.com). After opposing same-sex marriage, she “regretted” that position and voted to support adoptions by same-sex parents. She voted against a bill relating to bathroom rights for transgender people (brooklynpaper.com, nydailynews.com, Jorgensen). After being elected to Congress, Malliotakis indicated she would join other freshmen GOPers from Florida and Indiana whose families had escaped Communist regimes in the “Freedom Force (businessinsider.com, Jankowicz, M.).”
Cong. Malliotakis is “hot” on defending democracy abroad. At home, she has very different views. After Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 election, Malliotakis refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory. She parroted Trump’s refusal to concede the election (“The City,” Michel, C, 11/10/20). On 1/06/2021 after the violent Capitol attempted coup, Malliotakis still objected to counting AZ’s and PA’s electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election based on disproved allegations of voter fraud and unconstitutional procedures (nytimes.com, Yourish, Buchanan, & Lu, 1/07/21). On 1/13/2021, Cong. Malliotakis voted against Trump’s second impeachment for inciting the assault on the Capitol (nytimes.com, Cai, Daniel, Gamio, & Parlapiano, 1/13/21). We, therefore, should not be surprised about her hostility to truth teller Liz Cheney’s remaining in the GOP leadership. On 5/19/2021, Cong. Malliotakis did not join the 35 House GOPers who voted with all the House Democrats to support legislation that would establish an independent commission to investigate the 1/06/2021 Capitol insurrection (cnn.com, 5/19/21, LeBlanc, P.). Cong. Malliotakis is a proud member of the “GHP,” or “G rand H ypocrite C lub.” She voted against Biden’s 2021 American Rescue Plan, but after it passed, she touted this legislation as one of her “achievements (AP News).” As Speaker Pelosi aptly noted, GOPers like Malliotakis, “Just say ‘NO’ but take the dough.”
In midterm 2022, all the GOP needs to give Trump coup apologist McCarthy the Speaker’s gavel and kill Biden’s progressive agenda is five more seats. This time, unlike in 2020 because of COVID 19, Democrats will have strong door-to-door contacts and heavy voter canvassing. They will have Biden’s entire strong legislative record on COVID-19 relief and jobs to campaign on. They can point to GOPers who fought those bills and encouraged the Capitol riot by backing authoritarian Trump with his absurd electoral challenges. Democrats must fight everywhere including in NY’s GOP-leaning 11th CD where they need a moderate candidate to take on reactionary “Trumpbot” Mallitotakis. No House seat must be conceded. The future of our democracy remains at stake.