Golden stands by campaign staffer after Proud Boys melee
Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Golden is resisting calls to fire a campaign worker embroiled in controversy over a melee outside a Manhattan Republican Club involving members of a far-right group and angry leftist protesters.
Michael Tobman, a spokesperson for Golden’s re-election campaign, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the lawmaker has no intention of firing Ian Reilly, the manager of his campaign office.
“Ian Reilly is the campaign’s office manager, and will continue to serve in that role, as he has capably and professionally for several months,” Tobman told the Eagle via email on Wednesday.
In addition to his role in Golden’s campaign, Reilly is the chairman of the Metropolitan Republican Club, a political organization located at 122 East 83rd St. in Manhattan that was founded in 1902.
Reilly is under fire for inviting Gavin McInnes, the fiery leader of the group Proud Boys, to speak at the club on Oct. 12. The Proud Boys club is an organization of self-described “western chauvinists” that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Several fistfights broke out outside the club after McInnes’ appearance, according to the Gothamist, which reported that three arrests were made. Republicans have charged that the anti-McInnes protesters were members of Antifa, the far-left activist group.
The Metropolitan Republican Club scandal landed at Golden’s doorstep when Kadia Goba of Bklyner reported that Reilly is one of the senator’s paid campaign staff members.
Golden (R-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), who was first elected to the state Senate in 2002 and is running for re-election, is facing a challenge from Democrat Andrew Gounardes.
Gounardes, chief counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, was quick to jump on the controversy, issuing a statement calling on Golden to fire Reilly.
“Ian Reilly’s presence on Marty Golden’s staff and in our community sends a dangerous message to those who perpetuate hate,” Gounardes stated. “Just two weeks ago, there was a swastika found in Bay Ridge, and over the weekend a Jewish man was brutally beaten in a hate crime. You cannot simultaneously condemn those attacks while also employing Ian Reilly, a defender of white nationalist hate groups like the Proud Boys.”
In an interview with Gothamist, Reilly defended his decision to invite McInnes to the club, citing the fact that the club believes in hearing from a variety of voices on the right.
Meanwhile, Tobman, who described Reilly as a friend of his, suggested that Reilly was being unfairly portrayed in the media.
Tobman also told the Eagle that the Metropolitan Republican Club is “an old and distinguished political club” and that “mayors, governors and presidents have been active in the institution.”
Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, uses the club as his campaign headquarters, the Gothamist reported. But Molinaro has stated that he would not have invited McInnes there to speak.
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