With the 11th Congressional District having one of the closest races in the state, U.S. Rep. Max Rose and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis battled during a contentious debate hosted by NY1 on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
During the evening, the two candidates were asked about the negative ads they’ve run against each other and which ones they were bothered most by.
For Rose, it was ads that used his image of him attending a Black Lives Matter protest on Staten Island. The ad suggested that he stood by while several protesters chanted provocative slogans, including one to defund the police.
“I’m the only person in this race who’s put on a uniform, who has bled for my country, and who has asked young men and women to risk their lives,” he said. “I would never defund the police. In fact, I’ve only fought for more money in law enforcement across the nation.”
He added that before he participated in the march, she had lauded the individuals in it as an example for the nation.
“Nicole led a march in south Brooklyn not too long thereafter,” he said. “I would never characterize her sentiments by the words or actions by a small minority in a march that she led. Yes, there were people holding signs that I abhorrently disagree with at this march.”
Malliotakis stated that Rose has been dishonest about her record opposing taxes.
“I am proud to have voted against tax increases 350 times,” she said. “I have led the fight to hold Mayor de Blasio accountable when it comes to property taxes. It was one of the reasons I ran for mayor in the first place. I, alongside our local councilmembers Joe Borelli and Steve Matteo, we got a property tax commission whose recommendations have come out and they would actually lower the property taxes in Staten Island and southern Brooklyn.”
She added that she’s been at the forefront of the fight — every time Mayor Bill de Blasio comes in Albany, she has pushed him for a property tax cap after he has pushed the levy over 50 percent since being in office.
The two also discussed the handling of COVID. Both agreed that precautions taken by residents were important.
“We have to continue to race towards a vaccine and fund that effort as well as increase our treatment units so we are well prepared for the next pandemic,” he said. “What is critical right now is that we put the country first and stand up to either party leader that is willing to step in the way of additional COVID relief.”
“We have to make sure that we have rapid COVID testing, that we are encouraging people to get tested, that we ensure we have a vaccine which hopefully we are just a few months away from,” Malliotakis added. “We need to ensure that we bring our supply chain home. We can’t rely on the Communist Chinese Party.”
Rose brought up an event that Malliotakis hosted on Staten Island.
“Nicole hosted what could have potentially been a massive superspreader event,” he argued.
Malliotakis responded by mentioning Rose’s attendance at the rally.
“Max was marching in front of our local precinct with the `defund the police’ crowd event earlier,” she said. “It was really at the height of this pandemic that they were marching in a group of over 1,000 individuals.”
They were then asked about potential COVID relief bills.
“We have people like Nancy Pelosi who are politicizing the COVID relief package by trying to insert policies that have nothing to do with it,” she said. “Trying to release convicted felons from our federal prisons. Giving stimulus checks to people who are in our country illegally. What does that have to do with COVID relief?”
Malliotakis added that both sides need to come to the table to work out a bill that would be acceptable to all.
Rose was asked about voting down the second Heroes Act, a Coronavirus relief bill worth $2.2 billion.
“We had Heroes 1.0, which was over $3 trillion in relief complete federal, state and local aid, which clearly Nicole does not care about, to testing to aid for educational institutions, small businesses which was absolutely vital,” Rose said.
Later, he added, the bill “went to languish in Mitch McConnell’s graveyard for months.”
He added he voted against the second Heroes package because it didn’t represent a compromise.
Malliotakis was later asked about her support of President Donald Trump. In 2017, she had said she regretted voting for him.
“He has done a good job against very difficult odds, having had this partisan pressure going constantly against him,” she said. “They have tried to interrupt everything he has set to accomplish.
Rose, who didn’t call to impeach Trump during the Mueller Report but then later called for impeachment, was asked why he changed his mind on the matter.
“When the Russia investigation, the Mueller Report came in, I said that did not rise to the threshold of impeachment but I could’ve never predicted that something like Ukraine would happen,” he said. “For me that did rise to the threshold of impeachment.”