January 10, By Hannah Wulkan
A local Republican leader has condemned Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer for using “divisive” rhetoric since Donald Trump won the presidential election in November.
Marvin Jeffcoat, an army veteran who ran for State Senate against incumbent Michael Gianaris last year and garnered just 14 percent of the vote, released a letter to the community denouncing Van Bramer.
Jeffcoat specifically took issue with his holiday card, which featured Van Bramer’s staff holding cards with messages such as, “I am Muslim & Catholic,” and “I am a feminist.”
Van Bramer’s message said “I am ready to fight,” speaking to his feelings on the presidential election.
Jeffcoat included in the letter an imitation of Van Bramer’s card with other community members holding signs reading “I am a taxpayer” and “I support the NYPD,” among others.
Jeffcoat also included a “Divisive Rhetoric Timeline” with the letter, pointing to instances he believed to be offensive, including Van Bramer’s “Queens Values” march to Trump Tower and wording in several of Van Bramer’s public emails.
Specific wording Jeffcoat pointed out as offensive included the phrases “in a world of bullies,” “so in this time of uncertainty,” and “we were confronted by bigotry.”
“Our elected officials must be reminded they take an oath to represent all of us despite any party affiliation. We all deserve the respect and service of our government representatives,” Jeffcoat wrote. “As a community we must condemn and look past inflammatory rhetoric aimed at dividing us. We need to band together to address the serious issues impacting our neighborhoods.”
“Sadly, a local politician thought it was appropriate to use divisive and at times hurtful stereotypes to send a message to those who did not vote for the same presidential candidate as angry Jimmy Van Bramer,” Jeffcoat wrote.
Van Bramer hit back at Jeffcoat’s characterizations of his views and his holiday card.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Van Bramer responded in reference to the card. “I congratulate Marvin on his version of my holiday card. However, I think Marvin misunderstood the message of my card. It was hopeful and meant to be inspirational. It is a celebration of who we are as individuals, as a neighborhood, a city, and ultimately a nation. I’m proud of our work, which is first and foremost about serving every constituent, regardless of political affiliation or which presidential candidate they supported.”
“The truth is, I am only angry when people with disabilities are mocked, women are sexually assaulted, immigrants are scapegoated, and our Muslim neighbors attacked. Indeed, we should all be angry when those things occur, and we should fight for true equality for all,” Van Bramer added.