Just days after Republican Congress Member Nicole Malliotakis took office, public officials, activists and protestors gathered in Bay Ridge to demand she support the removal of President Donald Trump. But Malliotakis seems unlikely to heed the call.
The Saturday demonstration was organized by the Bay Ridge Democrats political club, and took place outside Malliotakis’ still-unadorned Third Avenue office. Well over 100 attendees listened and cheered as a slew of speakers tore into Malliotakis for voting against the certification of presidential election results from Pennsylvania and Arizona, even after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an uprising that left five people dead.
“You can’t do that and then call for unity,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a Democrat, speaking through a face mask and a megaphone. “If you want right now a moment of unity, anyone of good conscience should be saying this man has to go.”
Malliotakis, whose district includes both the conservative bastion of Staten Island as well as a more moderate slice of southern Brooklyn, took office last week after defeating freshman Democratic Congress Member Max Rose in the November election.
As attendees cheered and held up signs with slogans like “Shame on you Nicole” and “Impeachment is patriotic,” Williams called on Malliotakis to sign on to an impeachment resolution that House Democrats will likely introduce today, or support the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Though Trump’s term is set to expire in less than two weeks, many Democrats see impeachment as a way to hold the President accountable for his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol, and to prevent him from running for office in the future.
The Democrats’ slim majority in the House of Representatives means they can likely pass articles of impeachment in the chamber without significant Republican support. But Malliotakis’ decision to vote against the election certification, and her status as the only Republican congressperson in New York City, have made her a target of the ire of angry Democrats.
Several other Democratic officials at the event echoed the call for impeachment, including State Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Members Mathylde Frontus and Jo Anne Simon, and Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Brad Lander and Justin Brannan.
“Nicole, if you’re listening, we are begging you to step up and do the right thing,” said Frontus. “We’re expecting more from you. We deserve more from you. We are asking you to stand with us and use a little bit of sense and see what is going on. You do not want your legacy to go down in history as standing with Proud Boys and racists and KKK members.”
Many attendees made clear they had already made up their minds about Malliotakis’ legacy. At one point, Brannan, whose Council district overlaps with Malliotakis’ congressional district, said it would be “a long two years” if the congresswoman continued to support Trump, to which several protesters yelled, “Resign!” When the council member said he was “willing to give her one more chance,” protestors emphatically responded: “No!”
The hashtag #ResignMalliotakis trended briefly on Twitter on Saturday, and a petition calling for Malliotakis’ expulsion from Congress has just under 400 signatures from local residents, according to its organizers. Meanwhile, activists led a similar protest outside Malliotakis’ Staten Island office in Bulls Head on Saturday, and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined several Democratic congress members in front of City Hall that afternoon to call for Trump’s ouster.
But Malliotakis has refused to back down. She condemned the havoc in DC on Wednesday, but stood by her refusal to certify the election results, insisting that “concerns of fraud and irregularities brought up by witnesses in signed affidavits have gone unaddressed,” even though no credible evidence of such fraud exists.
In a statement to Bklyner responding to the demonstration, Malliotakis said simply, “I support every American’s right to peaceful protest and thank them as well as the countless constituents who have reached out to thank me for upholding my oath and taking a strong stand for election integrity.”
On Twitter, the congresswoman was less restrained. In response to accusations from Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that she had amplified “a known lie about our nation’s free elections that incited a riot that killed a Capitol Police officer,” Malliotakis shot back that Ocasio-Cortez was “a socialist who only talks about our police when she’s calling to defund them.”
Malliotakis was not the only target at the Bay Ridge protest, which, with the exception of a brief interruption by a man who shouted that he was “a proud Republican” before being directed away by police, took place without incident.
Williams said that with Democrats now controlling the legislature and executive branches in both Washington DC and in Albany, “there are no more excuses” for not taking progressive action.
“You are now exposed,” Williams warned Democratic leaders. “Let’s move this country forward.”
Murad Awawdeh, president of the Arab activist group Yalla Brooklyn, also called out Lori Maslow, a Democratic District Leader from Sheepshead Bay who is facing widespread calls to resign after posting anti-Chinese and anti-Palestinian tweets.
“In our Democratic party in Brooklyn, we have a District Leader who has said horrendous things, hateful things, similar things to Donald Trump,” Awawdeh said. He called on the Brooklyn Democratic Party to “hold Lori Maslow accountable.”
And though Bay Ridge Democrats president Chris McCreight at one point referred to former congressman Rose as “a patriot” and thanked his staffers for attending the event, activist Linda Sarsour, the event’s final speaker, was less sympathetic.
“If we actually had candidates who were running against [Malliotakis] who were standing in their conviction and principle, and didn’t try to count on the people that wouldn’t vote for them anyway,” said Sarsour, referring to Rose’s rightward lurch in the lead-up to the November election, “we wouldn’t even be in this situation.”