Going for a gut punch, New York’s lone Republican Rep. responded Tuesday to criticism of his immigration views with a shot at a colleague’s waistline.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) on Tuesday joined advocates (including Make the Road New York) rallying to urge Grimm to back comprehensive immigration reform. Nadler called Grimm “the local face” of the national Republican Party blocking action on a Senate-passed immigration overhaul.
Grimm responded with an effort to tie his likely Democratic opponent next year, City Councilor Domenic Recchia, to Nadler’s support for a resuming two-ways tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, a unpopular idea on Staten Island.
“Will Domenic Recchia carry the weight of his good friend Jerry Nadler and support his preposterous toll proposal?” Grimm added in a statement.
That reference to Nadler’s well-known weight struggles drew quick retorts from the Congressman and Grimm’s political foes.
“Maybe Congressman Grimm should spend less time making offensive, childish, and barely-veiled references to a colleague’s physical appearance, and attempting to change the subject, and more time standing up for much-needed immigration reform, Nadler spokesman Aaron Keyak told the Daily News.
Keyak said Grimm is “standing with Speaker Boehner and the far right of the Republican Party in refusing to” allow a House vote on an immigration bill.
While it’s likely to fade faster, the dustup recalls former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato’s Oct. 1998 referenceto Nadler as “Rep. Waddler.” Backlash over the crack may have helped Sen. Chuck Schumer defeatD’Amato a few weeks later.
Like Grimm, D’Amato responded to a prior political attack by Nadler. Democrats hope Grimm’s backfires similarly with voters who may see it as petty or mean-spirited.
“Is it any wonder that Michael Grimm’s retort to a thoughtful question about a serious issue is a cheap, childish personal jab, rather than an explanation, for example, about why he’s leaving immigrant veterans in the dust., said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC, which works to defeat Grimm and other House Republicans.
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