ALBANY — In mid-March, Greek-American Senator Michael N. Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, accused a group of eight breakaway Democrats, who have partnered with the Senate Republicans, of being President Trump’s “New York Democrats” — “happy to eat the crumbs from the Republican dinner plate.”
One of those renegade lawmakers, Senator Marisol Alcantara, a Manhattan Democrat and a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, soon shot back at Mr. Gianaris, saying he was a product of Harvard and guilty of having “white privilege.” (Mr. Gianaris is Greek-American, while Ms. Alcantara emigrated from the Dominican Republic as a child.)
The exchange prompted a new round of hand-wringing over the deteriorating relations among Democrats in the Senate, who technically hold a majority but whose divisions have effectively given power to the Republicans. Observers say the vitriol, tinged with allegations about race and class, does not augur well for a reconciliation anytime soon, New York Times reports.
“I don’t understand how Gianaris wants all of us to work together as a group when all he does is insult everyone in the I.D.C.”, Ms. Alcantara said in an interview.
Mr. Gianaris expressed frustration that, because of what he called the “collusion” with Republicans, his conference’s budget resolution never made it to the floor for debate. “Somehow today we are only left discussing the resolutions that the Republicans want us to hear,” he said in the chamber on March 15. “The Republicans are choosing which Democrats they want to hear from.”
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