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Eric Adams’s Chief Advisor Immediately Goes and Takes a Selfie With Councilmember Who Threatened College Students With a Gun

City Hall continues to feel much closer to reactionaries than most officials in their own party.

9:25 AM EDT on October 17, 2023

(Hell Gate)

Last week, Brooklyn Republican City Councilmember Inna Vernikov proudly brandished a handgun at a pro-Palestinian rally held by CUNY students, promptly drawing ire and calls for her resignation from other local officials, condemnation from the City Council speaker, and landing her a gun charge from the NYPD. Even as the governor chided the reactionary Vernikov—who referred to anyone supporting the protesting Brooklyn College students in a video as "nothing short of a terrorist without the bombs"—Mayor Eric Adams himself was awfully silent on the whole matter in public, beyond a press office statement saying that “bringing a firearm to a protest or rally is against the law, and no one is above the law."

Hmmm, maybe this is why: 

That's the mayor's chief advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin sitting down for tea with Vernikov, just days after Vernikov's arrest on gun charges. The ardently anti-progressive Lewis-Martin has been the main driver of some of City Hall's most conservative policies—she has taken the lead on striking down street safety projects, pushed a more xenophobic response to the arrival of migrants, and installed homophobes inside the administration

"I can say with unequivocal certainty that we have true friends in this administration," Vernikov wrote, following up with another tweet thanking the mayor and Lewis-Martin for "standing side by side with us even when you lose political points."

That Vernikov admires this City Hall (like Adams, Vernikov is a Democrat who became a Republican, only Adams eventually switched back) should come as no surprise—she shares many of the same policy positions as Adams, from frothing support of the NYPD to increased funding for charter schools and bolstering the DOE's flawed gifted and talented program, and uncritical, unwavering support of Israel. And Adams, during his time in office, has felt much more at home with conservatives, appointing them to high-ranking City positions, or hanging out with them on their bile-spitting radio shows

Adams has been quick to condemn City policies that he says are far too lenient on alleged gun offenders (except Vernikov, it seems). And while he hasn't personally called Vernikov out, he has found the time to repeatedly trumpet deeply disturbing misinformation about his political enemies, saying recently on national television that the Democratic Socialists of America had called for "the extermination of Jewish people." Adams has also been much more comfortable haranguing members of his own party, like Comptroller Brad Lander and Councilmember Lincoln Restler, belittling them repeatedly during press conferences. 

In response to Vernikov's photo and tweet, City Hall released a statement from Adams that expanded on his previous one-line statement, adding, "Running city govt requires our team to work with & meet with different elected officials."

Fair enough, it's just that in running City government, the Adams administration often finds itself surrounded by the city's most toxic elements. And then posing for a picture.

Some links we would gladly sit down to tea with: 

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