THE BRONX, N.Y. — Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for New York governor, spoke out on Monday against a woman who brought a sign with a swastika on it to a weekend rally he organized against COVID vaccine mandates.
New York parents gathered in the Bronx on Sunday to protest a proposed state bill that would mandate the COVID vaccine for students when the woman was photographed holding the sign, which compared vaccine requirements to Nazi Germany.
On Monday, Astorino condemned the use of such a comparison and said he did not notice the woman’s sign until photos later began circulating online. The gubernatorial hopeful claimed he would have had the sign removed if he had seen it earlier.
Astorino, a former two-term Westchester county executive, also addressed a photo of him meeting with the woman at the rally, saying that she was holding a different sign at that time.
The protest was held outside the office of Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who proposed the bill. In a tweet that included photos of the woman standing close behind Astorino as he spoke to the crowd, Dinowitz called the incident “repugnant and offensive.”
“Rob Astorino stood right next to these [antisemitic] symbols and said NOTHING. All Republican leaders should condemn this unacceptable use of [antisemitic] imagery. I am sorry to any constituents who passed by this repugnant display outside of my office today,” Dinowitz said in the tweet.
A host of state and local officials joined the chorus of outrage as well, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor-elect Eric Adams.
“Displaying Nazi symbolism anywhere at anytime is unacceptable. I stand with @JeffreyDinowitz, the Jewish community, and decent people across the City in condemning this antisemitism,” Adams tweeted.