Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams was among seven people arrested Monday night while protesting the president’s pick for a Supreme Court justice outside Trump Tower in midtown, his communications director said.
The councilman and candidate for lieutenant governor called on Democrats to stand up to President Donald Trump and his nominee.
“My message is to those Democrats who think resistance is just a hashtag,” he said to a crowd outside the president’s namesake tower on Fifth Avenue and East 56th Street. “We have fought for protections for so many, fought hard for black, brown, LGBT, for women. All of that can be reduced, not because of bigoted Republicans, but because of Democrats who refused to step up because they were afraid.”
Williams and the others arrested were issued summonses, police said.
Trump announced Monday evening that he is nominating conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the spot on the Supreme Court left open by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
Since Kennedy’s decision to retire, many liberals have been worried that whoever Trump nominates would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion a constitutional right.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday called on the state Senate to reconvene to pass the Reproductive Health Act, which would make Roe v. Wade protections state law — currently the state law predates the Supreme Court decision.
But Williams criticized the governor for not pushing for the bill sooner and said he prevented Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul from being the tie-breaking vote at the end of the session to get it passed. Cuomo, however, said that tactic had failed before and blamed the senate leader for not allowing a vote.
Still, Williams called on Democrats at every level to do more.
“I am begging all Democrats, all those that claim leadership, show risk, show courage, if you are in your comfort zone, you are not doing enough,” he said. “Become uncomfortable because everything is at risk right now. Everything. A woman’s body is at risk, who you can get married to is [at] risk, being black, brown, anything but a white male is at risk right now.”