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Potential Cuomo challenger Lee Zeldin clashes in exchange when asked to say Biden won the election

Trump ally Rep. Lee Zeldin gets in tense exchange with reporters when asked to say ‘unequivocally’ that Biden won the election – as he reveals he’s considering challenging Cuomo for governorship

  • Republican Lee Zeldin has said he is considering a run against Cuomo in 2022
  • He was asked to state that Joe Biden won the election
  • He voted against counting certified votes for Biden in Pennsylvania and Arizona 
  • ‘Yeah, Joe Biden’s the president of the United States’ 
  • He clashed with reporters who tried to ask him follow-ups 

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is considering a run for governor against Andrew Cuomo in New York, refused to say that President Joe Biden won the election in a tense interview Thursday.

Zeldin, a Donald Trump loyalist, voted against counting votes January 6th in two states carried by Joe Biden. He pushed back when Politico interviewer Ryan Lizza asked if he could state ‘unequivocally’ that Biden won.

‘Yeah, Joe Biden’s the president of the United States,’ Zeldin responded. ‘And that’s how you become the president of the United States,’ Zeldin said, as Lizza laughed over the tail end of his answer.

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York took part in a tense interview with Politico Thursday when Ryan Lizza asked him to state ‘unequivocally’ that Joe Biden won the election

Lizza tried again to get him to state directly that Biden won. ‘Is or was?’ he pressed.

‘I ask it very intentionally that he won the presidential election,’ Lizza explained.

Zeldin then shot back: ‘Yes. And then I went on to continue an answer. If you would like to give my answer for me, you can go ahead and do that. But I thought I was going to be here to answer my own questions,’ he said.

‘I’m not giving your answer. I’m just saying, you said he is the president, and was asking you did he win,’ Lizza explained  

‘You’re asking me now for a third time, and I’ve said yes twice. So, I don’t know how many more times you want me to say yes and what your agenda is. But, really, it’s a bit ridiculous to be asking me a third time. But please, go ahead and ask me again,’ Zeldin said.

That prompted Lizza’s co-interviewer Tara Palmeri to jump in and make her own statement that ‘I think he’s just clarifying the answer, to make sure that he has it right’ – which Zeldin dubbed a ‘fourth time to get him to answer.’ 

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. He voted not to count votes from two states that were certified for Joe Biden on Jan. 6th

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. He voted not to count votes from two states that were certified for Joe Biden on Jan. 6th

Zeldin says he is considering a run against embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2022

Zeldin says he is considering a run against embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2022

Zeldin's embrace of Trump could be a challenge in New York, a state Joe Biden carried with 61 per cent of the vote

Zeldin’s embrace of Trump could be a challenge in New York, a state Joe Biden carried with 61 per cent of the vote

‘I wouldn’t call that a question,’ she said in response.   

‘You can go for a fifth time next, too,’ he told her, which prompted her to say: ‘Is every time I speak a question?’ she asked him, leading to an awkward pause. 

‘We can keep going,’ said Palmeri.

‘Sure, let’s do it a sixth time,’ Zeldin upped the ante again.

The back-and-forth came as Zeldin put himself in the spotlight as he ponders a run for governor in 2022, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo contends with multiple accusations by women who accuse him of harassment and other conduct.

The state attorney general’s office is conducting a probe of allegations of harassment, groping, and bullying behavior. Should Cuomo resign, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would be the party’s standard bearer. 

Trump is not popular in New York, his former home state: Joe Biden beat him there by 61 to 38 per cent in 2020, making Zeldin’s embrace of him less of an asset than it might be in a more Republican area. 

 Zeldin told Newsday early this month: ‘After a lot of people reached out to me in recent days and weeks, and after discussing it at length with my wife and daughters, I am now actively exploring a run for governor of New York against Andrew Cuomo in 2022.’

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