By Kami-Leigh Agard
As the cinema-verité style of news cameras, helicopters, journalists, Trump supporters, anti-Trump protesters, bureaucrats, and the NYPD thronged lower Manhattan this past Tuesday, April 4’s unprecedented indictment of former President Donald Trump—his former aide and avid golf partner, Andrew Giuliani, chose to stay out of the fray, and instead came to the peninsula’s Rockaway Republican Club (RRC) meeting. As he stated, “Just being miles away from where Alvin Bragg sits every day, I’m very happy to be here.” From school choice, public safety, election integrity, voting, safekeeping conservative values and more, Giuliani engaged a lively dialogue with the club’s attendees at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. At the meeting, the RRC also held elections for club officers after the club’s recent comeback.
Giuliani, the son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was a special assistant to former President Trump and associate director of the Office of Public Liaison during Trump’s administration. He was also an on-air contributor for conservative media channel, Newsmax TV, and in January of this year, he joined conservative talk radio station, WABC, with his own show, “The Andrew Giuliani Show,” as well as a contributor on “Sid & Friends in the Morning,” and co-host of “Cats at Night” with John Catsimatidis.
While the indictment was the topic du jour bombarding every news outlet, Giuliani only shared a few sentiments. “Now because of some legal gymnastics with a prosecutor, who seems to want to allow violent criminals to walk free and make neighborhoods like mine less safe on a daily basis, to actually look at this, and try to figure out how to put 34 felony counts in there, is absolutely appalling. I have no doubt that if President Trump gets a fair trial, and let me preface it again by saying, ‘if’ President Trump gets a fair trial, it actually might not even go to trial.”
Giuliani, who last year ran in the NYS gubernatorial Republican primary, but lost against Lee Zeldin, shared that it was because of his daughter that he decided to run for office. “I have a 16-month-old, and more than being a conservative, more than being a New Yorker, being her father is first. I wonder if she’s going to be safe and get a better education in NY. So, that’s why I ran for office. That’s why I continue to support candidates that are pushing back from an education standpoint, from a public safety standpoint, from a moral standpoint, because I view everything through the eyes of my daughter. And this is why it’s so important that we continue to push for ideas like universal school choice and school vouchers,” he said.
Regarding school vouchers and charter schools, Giuliani shared his belief that they bring the free market into education. “If every parent got a voucher so they can send their child either to parochial or private school, use it for homeschooling, or towards their public school district if they’re doing well, it brings the free market into education. It makes schools perform at a level where parents will actually say, ‘That’s the best school for my child right here.’ Plus, money is less of an issue in that instance. Sadly, we have a mayor, who though he did campaign for charter schools and for school choice, when he had the opportunity to go up to Albany and advocate for it, he completely threw ’em under the bus and wouldn’t even advocate for raising the regional caps of charter schools.
“Hochul’s been talking a little bit about it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna get to the assembly or the state senate. We need better assembly members and state senators in Albany. No doubt about that,” he said.
His stance on charter schools and school vouchers fueled a debate with a meeting attendee, who is a NYC public school teacher. She said, “From the standpoint of the union, what happens is when you have vouchers, they’re for the Bill and Melinda Gateses who fund these charters schools. The kids attend these charters, but now, you’re taking jobs from union teachers as charter schools do not hire union people.”
Giuliani responded, “You’re talking about a $13 billion budget the state has laid aside for education. There’s no doubt that there are some great public school teachers, but I think sometimes the union protects teachers that might not be doing the best job. Look at the public school graduation rates. With Covid, the union advocated to keep kids out of school for two years. When I think about who’s responsible for this, it’s tough for me to look further than Randi Weingarten. They’re advocating for the teachers, not the students. Sadly, the union is protecting some of the worst teachers more than looking at so many of the great teachers and saying, ‘What can we do to incentivize these teachers to be better?’ Because if you could do that, then you could figure out a way to raise the standards.”
Another attendee asked Giuliani how he could use his platform to reach out to incentivize the younger generation of voters. He said, “When I think of how the left has out flanked Republicans over the last, let’s say 60 years, the two things that really come to mind are the media and education. What originally started on college campuses as legitimate liberal thought, even out of the Democratic party, has now turned into semi-fascist thought. A college campus should be a place where different ideas are shared and challenged. The fascist political ideology has seeped down now from college campuses to high schools, to elementary schools, and now, even kindergartens. That’s why I’m such a massive school choice advocate. As a father, I want to make sure that when my daughter Grace is seven years old, and I ask her what she learned at school today, she doesn’t say, ‘Well, we learned that dad, you are racist, and by the way, I’m a boy.’
“Also, education begins at home, and as parents, we have to teach and foster conservative values in our children. Also, conservative values should not be censored on social media.”
After more attendees asked questions, and the meeting eventually wound down, Giuliani then reiterated his sentiment that he was happy to be in Rockaway on a very politically incensed day.
“This is why I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to be at this meeting with like-minded people. In my mind, I’m grieving today. We need to figure out what the next step is to actually get control of our government again, and make sure that our government understands that they are supposed to be by the people and for the people,” he said.
The RRC then held elections for its officers resulting with Mary Glynn elected president; Rob Rose, vice president; Margaret Powers, secretary; and Dina Tammaro, treasurer.
For more information about the RRC and future meetings, visit Rockaway Republican Club on Facebook.