A candidate for the 22nd State Senate seat has called out his challenger for not disavowing an event that has controversial political figure Sebastian Gorka as the keynote speaker.
Democratic candidate Ross Barkan is calling upon incumbent Republican State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights,Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) to distance himself from a fundraising event hosted by Brooklyn GOP. In addition to Gorka, Donald Trump Jr. will be in attendance as part of a “VIP reception.”
“Sebastian Gorka is a neo-Nazi, an Islamophobe, and a disgraceful extremist. He doesn’t belong anywhere near Brooklyn, New York. The Republican Party of Brooklyn is fundraising off hate, fear, and shameless bigotry,” Barkan said in a press release, “Marty Golden must disavow and condemn this fundraiser immediately. If he does not, he is endorsing the viewpoints of some of the most bigoted people in American society.”
Gorka is a former member of the Trump administration. He was a deputy assistant to the president for the first six months of Trump’s presidency. Gorka and the White House are at odds over how his tenure ended. Gorka said he resigned from the White House because he did not agree with the policy of the administration. The White House said he did not resign.
He has been criticized in the past for anti-Islamic rhetoric, as well as having ties to a Nazi-affiliated group.
Although the event is not for Golden specifically, Barken said that Golden is affiliated to the event because of his connection to the party.
“The Republican Party is a personality cult built around the heinous presidency of Donald Trump. It’s not exactly surprising Brooklyn’s Republicans would invite a foot soldier of hate to our borough,” Barkan said, “However, it’s still despicable and all Republicans involved in these efforts, including Marty Golden, should be ashamed of themselves.”
This is not the first time Barkan, who is Jewish, has pressured Golden into addressing anti-Semitism. Barkan called upon Golden to fire a staffer who posted a photo on social media comparing a survivor of the Parkland shooting to Adolph Hitler.
Golden dismissed the staffer within 24 hours of the incident.
Michael Tobman, a Brooklyn GOP Spokesman, said there is a wide-range of opinions within the GOP.
“The Republican Party has within it diverse opinions across a range of issues. Like the Democratic Party, with its elected officials and activists often at odds with each other, disagreement – internal, and certainly with opponents – is a permanent part of political organizations. The diverse Brooklyn GOP looks forward to its May event,” Tobman said in an email.
Tobman said that Barkan is using the event to make a leap and a link to benefit his own political narrative.
“Just because Ross Barkan or Andrew Gounardes [who is running against Barkan in the Senate Democratic primary] say something, doesn’t make it so. The Brooklyn GOP is a growing political organization in its own right, certainly not defined by inaccurate accusations made by Democratic candidates running against each other in a democratic primary,” he said.
The fundraising event is taking place next month in Brooklyn.