New York State’s Electoral College convened Monday, casting its 29 votes for New York’s home state candidate Hillary Clinton. Led by former president Bill Clinton, the electors met in the majestic state senate chamber at the Capitol for a tightly scripted session without any disruption or deviation. Clinton’s New York victory, expected to be a foundational bloc for her winning campaign, was instead a cruel coda to the disorienting election night experience of an anticipated presidency suddenly vanishing. There were some smiles and applause in the senate chamber Monday, but it wasn’t a celebration. Like a jilted groom recasting the pre-paid reception as a party, New York Democrats could cheer their own victories and predominance in their state but the overriding feeling was the last-minute loss of something so much bigger.
Former President Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo were the stars of the show, with Cuomo presiding as president of the convention. They entered the senate chamber together to a standing ovation, after all of the other electors and spectators had taken their seats, later rising to cast their ballots together. Cuomo lauded Clinton during his closing remarks, drawing a standing ovation for the former president.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press this afternoon following his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. de Blasio struck a reasonably conciliatory tone as he described presenting his views to Trump:
Thousands of anti-Trump protesters filled Fifth Avenue Saturday afternoon and evening, venting their anger and frustration at the election of Donald Trump. Converging marches from Union Square and Columbus Circle brought protesters to a stand-off with police just south of Trump Tower. There were a couple of minor scuffles between protesters and police, but no major trouble that I observed. Waving signs and chanting, the crowd’s contempt for Trump was unmistakable, expressed in signs ranging from angry to funny to earnest.
Will President Obama grant a pardon to Hillary Clinton? Should he? It’s an outlandish idea in some ways, but there are substantial reasons that Obama may consider granting a pardon to Clinton.
U.S. presidents have an essentially unfettered Constitutional “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” not subject to review or reversal. Such a pardon can be for a specific offense or a blanket pardon for all federal crimes. (Note that a presidential pardon covers federal crimes; the president has no power concerning crimes under state laws.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio made a four borough GOTV swing today, visiting Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, Queens’ LaGuardia Community College, Manhattan’s Baruch College and the Bronx’s Hostos Community College. At Medgar Evers and Baruch de Blasio spoke to about 150-200 people at brief outdoor rallies. (I did not attend the LaGuardia or Hostos Community College appearances.)
There’s little in the way of competitive races within the City, so the Mayor’s GOTV effort won’t impact election outcomes. Instead, it’s an opportunity for the Mayor to limber up the campaign muscles with some positive visibility. (Curiously, however, the Mayor was accompanied by government staff rather than campaign staff.) Continue reading →
Eric Ulrich remains opposed to Donald Trump. The Republican mayoral candidate and New York City Council Member is one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, but he’s not supporting the about-to-be Republican presidential nominee. Ulrich supported John Kasich in the New York Republican primary. Like Kasich, he has not moved toward Trump in the months since Kasich ended his campaign.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went to Donald Trump’s home and office Monday, holding a press conference outside Trump Tower to condemn Trump’s claims that a federal judge hearing a lawsuit focused on “Trump University” could not be fair to Trump because, in Trump’s words, “[h]e’s a Mexican.” Mark-Viverito was joined by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American elected official in New York City.
“I’m not ready to say if I’m going to give him my vote.” That’s how Eric Ulrich, one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, concluded our conversation on Donald Trump Tuesday night.
City Council Member Ulrich, in the early stages of building a 2017 mayoral bid, strongly supported John Kasich in the New York presidential primary and has not yet supported the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Although he began with a somewhat cavalier comment that “Donald Trump has to hire a better speechwriter”, Ulrich expressed strong reservations about Trump and his record of offensive comments. He also expressed dismay at what he sees as Trump’s lack of interest in the votes of “Republicans like me” who didn’t support him during the primaries. Ulrich nonetheless said that he hopes Trump will “come around before election day.” Ulrich may not vote for Trump should he not “come around,” however.
Former New York governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate George Pataki expressed significant reservations about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump Tuesday night, saying that he does not endorse Trump and that he’s “still up in the air” on whether he’ll vote for Trump. Pataki was among the earliest Republican critics of Trump, condemning some of Trump’s comments in August 2015 as the two campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. (After his own presidential campaign ended Pataki endorsed Marco Rubio and, after Rubio dropped out, John Kasich.)
During an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Pataki described himself as a “loyal Republican” who wants to support the party’s nominee. Condemning Trump’s “demoniz[ation] of ethnic groups out of stupidity”, Pataki said that he will not “blindly support” Trump in the absence of a coherent political philosophy. Pataki added that he hopes to see such a coherent philosophy and that he could support Trump should that occur. When I asked Pataki afterwards why, after nearly a year of Trump campaigning, he thought it possible that Trump would change his approach Pataki replied “I have hope” rather than an expectation of that happening.
Here’s a clip of Pataki during an audience Q&A and in a brief conversation with me afterwards:
Ohio Governor John Kasich is expected to announce his withdrawal from the Republican presidential race this evening. We’ve covered his campaign extensively, with a focus on his efforts in New Hampshire and New York, from being one of 17 “major” Republican candidates to now being the last of those 17 to surrender to Donald Trump’s electoral success.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz passed quietly through Manhattan’s Upper East Side today, attending a closed-press campaign event at the Metropolitan Republican Club. Accompanied by his wife Heidi, Cruz spent just over an hour with an audience of about 100-150 people.
Cruz has been attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio during the primary, running ads declaring that de Blasio is “tearing this City apart”, but those tears were not readily apparent on a beautiful sunny morning a short walk from de Blasio’s mayoral residence. Arriving close to 20 minutes ahead of his scheduled speaking time, Cruz’s leisurely car unloading drew a few beeping car horns and prompted a woman to get out of her car and shout for Cruz’s car to move. That slight bit of normal city friction was as dramatic as the scene became; no protesters appeared and only four identifiable members of the press witnessed Cruz’s arrival and departure. Even the few passers-by who asked what was happening expressed little interest or emotion over Cruz’s visit.
The Senator successfully ignored press questions on arrival, but was thwarted on departure as a former Republican candidate greeted him and invited a press question. After answering one question Cruz continued on his way, climbing into his waiting car and rolling across a sun-dappled 83rd Street.