Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the veteran state legislator, crossed party lines and gave his enthusiastic endorsement to Republican-Conservative congressional candidate Michael Grimm.
The announcement made Wednesday by Orthodox Jewish leader Hikind, in the Assembly for 28 years, in a club hall in Borough Park represented a snub to Democrat Congressman Michael McMahon. Hikind also blasted President Barack Obama as a failure.
“I am endorsing Michael Grimm because I know he will fight for New York and the Jewish community when he is in Congress,” said Hikind. “He is an amazing and energetic individual. Michael Grimm is the future.”
He stood with Grimm and two local Jewish leaders, businessman and Bobover Hasidic Leader Ben Barber and Sholmo Braun, community representative for State Sen. Marty Golden. He praised Grimm as the strongest, most qualified candidate to represent the 13th Congressional District, which contains Southwest Brooklyn and all of Staten Island.
“Michael Grimm is committed to the defense of Israel, preventing terrorism and keeping our country safe and strong. As a Marine Corps combat veteran, Grimm defended the security of America and Israel in the first Gulf War,” said Hikind, referring to Grimm’s service in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Thanking Hikind for his support and work for New York, Grimm said he was “overwhelmed and hugely honored. When I am in Congress, I look forward to working on the issues that matter to the Jewish community and to all Americans. I will fight for the security of Israel and the United States of America.”
Freshman Congressman McMahon, who has been targeted by the national Republican Party in its bid to take back the seat for the GOP, has also stated his backing for Israel and the war on terror.
But Hikind felt that Grimm was stronger, given his Middle East combat service record and FBI experience targeting Wall Street corruption. Hikind compared him to former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato.
“D’Amato was a great friend to us and Israel, and Grimm is following in that tradition,” he said. “Grimm understands that Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is in danger and there are those who want its destruction. Michael, you are about the perfect fit!”
“It’s a fact of life that Israel and the United States must stand together as one,” said Grimm. “We are in this together, as brother and sister, sharing the same values and we’re both countries with so much enterprising spirit and innovations. I will make sure that our relationship grows even stronger.”
Hikind, who faces Republican-Conservative opponent Brian Doherty, a retired police officer from Bay Ridge, defended McMahon when it was discovered recently that one of his aides was publicizing a list of Jewish campaign contributors to Grimm’s campaign. The aide was swiftly fired, and McMahon said he had been unaware of the list.
During his Grimm endorsement, Hikind blasted President Obama. “I’m very, very unhappy with the president of the United States. He has failed us. Yes, I’m a Democrat. But I am not a blind Democrat.”
Calling Obama “unhealthy for America,” he berated him on his treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his recent visit. “He disrespected him, bringing him through the back door of the White House like a thief.”
Grimm, accompanied by Brooklyn campaign manager Joe Kovak, said that the direction of the nation “is not for more change. It’s about the fundamental values that made our country great.”