Dan Goldman faced attacks from all sides over issues including health care, campaign finance and free speech during a 10th Congressional District debate hosted by PoliticsNY/Schneps Media Monday night.
While the candidates running in NY10 have engaged in numerous forums since the election began in late May, Monday night’s event was the first official debate in the Aug. 23 contest for the newly drawn district that covers lower Manhattan and much of northwest Brooklyn.
During a portion of the evening where candidates were given the chance to ask one another a question, U.S. Rep. Mondiare Jones asked Goldman, who served as lead counsel in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, why he doesn’t support Medicare for All – legislation that would create a national single-payer health care system.
“Dan, your website indicates that you don’t support Medicare for all,” Jones said. “But we know that the pandemic has hit hardest the working New Yorkers who oftentimes don’t have employment during any particular time or don’t have the resources to spend on health care, on premiums, deductibles and copays. Why don’t you support Medicare for All?”
Goldman responded that he believes health care is a “fundamental right” and everyone should have “free health care.” But, he thinks this can best be achieved by adding a public option – government provided health insurance – while keeping the private insurance market intact for those who still wish to use it.
“Part of the reason I believe that is because it’s completely impractical in my view, and unrealistic, to destroy and burn down an entire industry that has actually created through research and development some incredibly meaningful prescription drugs,” Goldman said. “So, you and I agree [on] what the end goal is. I just take a more pragmatic, realistic approach to try to get results as opposed to scream from the mountain tops about something that isn’t going to happen.”
Jones fired back, saying Goldman was repeating “pharmaceutical industry talking points,” when speaking about the innovations that have come from drug companies. Medicare for All, the congressman added, would give the government power to negotiate high prescription drug prices without putting the industry out of business. Plus, under a public option, tens of millions of Americans would still go uninsured.
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) also piled on, asking how Goldman – who has touted his role in impeaching Trump as the number one reason people should vote for him – why he would accept campaign funds from Trump donors and how that will affect his ability to legislate.
“Dan you’re running on your record of serving as the Democratic counsel in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, but at the same time, you’ve taken money from Trump supporters and people who’ve donated to Trump,” Niou said. “What do those Trump donors think they’ll be getting from you that’s the same they got from Trump?”
Goldman said his record of having led Trump’s first impeachment speaks for itself. But he didn’t express any issue with getting campaign cash from Trump donors, saying Niou should ask them about why they’d donate to someone who impeached the former president.
“I already impeached Donald Trump,” Goldman said. “If a Trump supporter wants to support me, I’m not exactly sure why you’re asking me that question. I think you should go ask him the question why he’s supporting someone who has already impeached Donald Trump.”
Attorney Maud Maron also attacked Goldman, accusing him of “criminalizing free speech” for proposing a new law that would criminalize the act of making false statements about “when, where and how elections will occur.”
The fact that Goldman bore the bulk of attacks from his opponents suggests that much of the field sees him as a frontrunner. Goldman has consistently polled in the top-tier of candidates along with Niou, Jones and City Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan).
Other candidates in the field who joined PoliticsNY Monday night included former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), non-profit founder Jimmy Li, consumer protection advocate Brian Robinson and data scientist Quanda Francis.
Look for a recording of the entire debate to be posted on PoliticsNY and sister sites BrooklynPaper and amNY in the next few days. Early voting in the August primary takes place from Aug. 13-21.