East End Congressman Lee Zeldin doubled down on his support for both President Donald Trump and law enforcement this week.
Mr. Zeldin, a three-term Republican incumbent, praised the president extensively in a three-minute speech delivered from the Westhampton Beach VFW Post 5350 aired Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.
On Tuesday, in the midst of more unrest over the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wis., Mr. Zeldin also announced he had introduced a resolution in Congress calling for a “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights” “denouncing calls to “defund”, “disband”, “dismantle”, or “abolish” law enforcement.”
In his three-minute speech at the RNC, Mr. Zeldin praised “everyday heroes who serve and sacrifice for the greater good,” including farmers, truckers and craftsmen.
Mr. Zeldin, an attorney who served in the Army as a JAG officer and was deployed in 2006 to Tikrit, Iraq with a battalion of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, talked briefly about growing up in a law enforcement family, and said “my generation of post 9-11 veterans has huge shoes to fill, following our greatest generation that fought tyranny and saved the world.”
He shared his respect for health care workers with a story about his twin daughters’ experiences being born 14 weeks early, and talked about his discussions with President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, about sending personal protective equipment to health care workers in Suffolk County.
Calling the pandemic “an unforeseen crisis sent to us by a foreign land,” he said “the president’s effort for New York was phenomenal,” including the administration’s authorization of lab testing requests “at blinding speeds.”
“For our nation to emerge stronger more prosperous freer and more secure than ever, to make our country greater than ever bf we must reelect President Trump,” he said. there’s never been a nation greater than ours never a people more resilient more than ours, and never a future for America more promising than ours right now. Keeping america great is up to us and losing is not an option.”
The campaign of Mr. Zeldin’s Democratic opponent, Stony Brook University chemist Dr. Nancy Goroff, was unimpressed with the speech.
“Here in Suffolk County, we’ve lost over 2,000 lives to COVID-19, our local government faces a potential $1.5 billion shortfall in the next three years, and residents are experiencing the fastest rise in unemployment rates in our region’s history—all because President Trump ignored scientists and experts, and put his political agenda before our safety,” said Goroff campaign spokeswoman Hannah Jeffrey in a statement issued late Wednesday evening. “As our community struggles, Rep. Zeldin is off playing sycophant to a President who ignored the experts and the science to try to bolster his own reelection campaign.”
Mr. Zeldin introduced the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights on Saturday, during a special session of Congress called to vote on a bill to provide funding for the U.S. Postal Service. Mr. Zeldin voted against the postal funding measure.
The Law Enforcement Bill of Rights includes 10 bullet points — assuring officers have “an inherent right to self-defense against physical threats,” “physical harassment targeting the law enforcement officer should not be permitted,” “the law enforcement officer should have the right to equipment necessary for personal protection” and “during questioning in the course of an investigation, the law enforcement officer should not be subjected to any offensive language, nor should be threatened with departmental, civil or criminal charges, nor receive financial or promotional inducement.”
It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
“This resolution makes it clear we will not stand idly by while some attempt to ‘defund’ and ‘abolish’ our law enforcement officers,” said Mr. Zeldin. “We must defend our great law enforcement officers, while recognizing the important relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
The resolution was endorsed by the the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, National Association for Police Officers, National Sheriffs Association, and Fraternal Order of Police.
“During these challenging times, it is heartening to see a member of Congress stand up for his sheriffs, deputies and LEOs in general,” said Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs Association.