A Republican politician from Staten Island who screamed “Heil Hitler” during a protest against New York’s coronavirus health protocols issued an apology, saying she actually meant to yell “Mein Führer,” the New York Daily News reported on Monday evening.
Leticia Remauro, a candidate for Staten Island borough president who previously managed the campaign of Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, filmed and posted the video to her Facebook page during a protest outside of Mac’s Public House late last month. The owners of the establishment had defied state safety regulations prohibiting indoor dining at bars and restaurants, declaring their establishment an “autonomous zone” within the community.
“We’ve come together with the small business community, with Staten Island, to stand up for our right — the right to pay taxes—so that we can pay the salaries of these good men and women, who yes, are only doing their job,” Remauro said, gesturing to a group of uniformed police officers standing outside of the pub blocking the entrance.
“But, not for nothing. Sometimes you got to say, ‘Heil Hitler! Not a good idea to send me here,’” Remauro said in the video, which you can watch above.
The video, which only surfaced recently, caused outrage among local politicians who began calling for the former chair of the Staten Island Republican Party to drop her borough president candidacy. Remauro, who has since deleted the clip from her social media pages, responded on Monday, telling the Daily News that she “actually meant to say ‘Mein Führer, it’s not a good idea to send me here,’” not “Heil Hitler.” Though many will likely view her explanation as a distinction without a difference, she further said she was invoking the Nazi terms in order to emphasize her view that state and city officials were “acting as a fascist, in the same way [Adolf] Hitler took away people’s businesses.”
“I absolutely regret the choice of words,” she told the Daily News, adding, “My very unfortunate analogy was overdramatic and wrong.”
Remauro said she did not mean for the remarks to be taken as anti-Semitic.
“I apologize profusely that the word I used in trying to create an analogy are offensive. But when you think about in Nazi Germany, in Cuba, with Mussolini it starts the same way. They come for your business, your religion, your property and then for you,” she said. “One after the another our rights are being taken away. We have a situation here where we are having elected officials make a decision in a vacuum … If you close restaurants and not let them reopen, there’s a trickle-down effect.”
Remauro tweeted earlier Tuesday that what she said was a “VERY BAD ANALOGY,” and apologies to her Jewish family members and friends for her “lapse in judgement.”
This is a VERY BAD ANALOGY likening the actions of the de Blasio & Cuomo against small businesses to those of a Nazi dictator. I used angry and hurtful words that caused people pain. I apologize to my Jewish family members and friends for my lapse in judgement. pic.twitter.com/d3R6W5D84J
— Remauro for SI BP (@LeticiaRemauro) January 12, 2021
Remauro previously served as community liaison in the Republican administrations of New York City mayors Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki. She was named one of Staten Island’s 50 most influential people in 2018. She was also listed as the chair of the board of trustees of the Staten Island Hebrew Public Charter School, according to Staten Island Live. Remauro has reportedly resigned from that position.
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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