One of only two Jewish Republicans in Congress is receiving outrage from his constituents after he confirmed Breitbart CEO and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon would headline a reelection fundraiser.
Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin admitted Bannon is perceived as a "Nazi or Nazi sympathizer" yet insisted the Breitbart executive has "gotten a bad rap in many respects," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
Tickets begin at $1,000 for the December 14 fundraiser in midtown Manhattan, which will be co-hosted by GOP operative Arthur Schwartz and GOP lobbyist Wayne Berman. It will mark the first fundraiser Bannon has held for a sitting House Republican since leaving the White House, Newsday noted.
"Steve Bannon proudly provides a platform for a white nationalism that frequently demonizes people of color, Jews, and other minorities," Bend the Arc Jewish Action organizer Kayla Glick told Patch. "It is deeply disturbing that Rep. Zeldin would ally himself with this enemy of our community and its values."
"Rep. Zeldin has a unique opportunity to represent Jewish values on the national stage. He is squandering it for short-term political gain. As his constituents, we will continue to hold him accountable for these failures of leadership and demand he choose a side against white nationalism and the radical policies of this administration," Glick continued.
Zeldin's office denied that Bannon was attempting to "buy" the congressman's vote on the tax bill.
There was swift backlash on Twitter:
@metsygirl203 @ltauvers @RepLeeZeldin Lee Zeldin. Want to hear what you could possibly say to defend this. Steve Ba… https://t.co/pG8chu2goV— David Keegan (@David Keegan)1511830347.0
@RepLeeZeldin Supported by Robert Mercer, the NRA and now Steve Bannon. BANNON also supports Roy Moore. Says a lot… https://t.co/nVz4ohTFLp— John Masone (@John Masone)1511649432.0
It's a disgrace that @RepLeeZeldin is embracing hate-monger Steve Bannon. Zeldin can no longer claim to represent N… https://t.co/aPRksoSxrb— Sue Hornik (@Sue Hornik)1511550124.0
Rep.Zeldin of New York is teeming with Nazi Steve Bannon and Donald Trump for fundraisers for his reelection,he is… https://t.co/gO1EBvEzVD— Chris Mac (@Chris Mac)1511824831.0
@JGreenblattADL And now my CD1 Rep Zeldin is bringing white supremacist Bannon to our area to raise $$$$. This is a… https://t.co/eZkZk36tW2— traveler 1 #resist (@traveler 1 #resist)1511533686.0
Bannon is hosting a fundraiser for @leezeldin. NY1 is the district I grew up in and I take this personally.… https://t.co/vAykLCbZz7— Dr Mia Brett, PhD (@Dr Mia Brett, PhD)1511637786.0
I'm wondering why @RepLeeZeldin is having Steve Bannon speak at his event, when Bannon wouldn't let his kids play w… https://t.co/ItoojPQAil— this is more normal 💙 (@this is more normal 💙)1511466998.0
Rep. Lee Zeldin confirms Steve Bannon will be headlining a fundraiser for the Congressman in December https://t.co/KTwHmaEm9V— The Situation Room (@The Situation Room)1511824910.0