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Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) has Donald Trump’s endorsement in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. But the right-wing challenger kept some distance from the former president in a debate against Hochul on Tuesday. (Watch the video below.)
Hochul asked Zeldin to reply yes or no to the question: “Is Donald Trump a great president?”
Zeldin dodged a direct answer from the get-go.
“I worked closely with him on a …” he said, prompting another “yes or no?” from Hochul. A moderator reminded the governor that she had to give Zeldin his time, which he used to avoid answering.
He cited his work with Trump to combat gang violence, securing equipment for a lab, and Trump’s Abraham Accords aiming to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab nations of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
“I’ll take that as a resounding ‘yes,’” Hochul said. “And the voters of New York do not agree with you.”
While Zeldin dismissed a question of whether he’d like to see Trump run in 2024 as irrelevant (per The New York Times), he defended his support of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in 2020.
Zeldin voted with other House Republicans to overturn President Joe Biden’s rightful victory on Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump supporters laid siege to the Capitol building.