Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan today called Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene a “dynamic” leader and criticized Democrats for a double-standard on how they treat outspoken members of Congress.
“Ilhan Omar can come out with the most anti-Semitic comments ever and they don’t say anything,” said Lonegan, a former U.S Senate and gubernatorial candidate who had been the de facto leader of the conservative wing of the New Jersey Republican Party.
Greene, a freshman congresswoman from Georgia, has been under fire for promoting conspiracy theories and calling for top Democratic leaders to be executed. In a 2018 social media post, she blamed Jewish space lasers for creating wildfires in California.
Lonegan defended a campaign contribution he made to Greene during her 2020 House bid.
“When I donated to her last year, I didn’t know anything about this stuff,” Lonegan said in a telephone interview with the New Jersey Globe. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference anyway.”
He said he opposes a move by Democrats to expel her from the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I’m going to stand by her,” stated Lonegan. “People have the right to their opinions, whether you like them or not.”
The former mayor bemoaned the practice of combing through old social media posts in search of a gotcha moment and the cancel culture that accompanies it.
“It’s become a tool to execute people. We’re living in a world where people can reach back years,” Lonegan said. “I find that dangerous. Who could be next?”
According to Lonegan, the voters of Georgia’s 14th district get to decide who should represent them on Congress.
“It’s not up to Nancy Pelosi,” Lonegan said.
The 64-year-old Lonegan said he is out politics and concentrating on his new career as the owner of a Hackensack restaurant.
He said he would not challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (R-Wyckoff) in 2022.
“I’ve ruled it out,” said Lonegan.
But a retirement from a political career that included two gubernatorial runs, three congressional bids, and a campaign for U.S. Senate against Cory Booker in 2013 hasn’t necessarily stopped Lonegan from voicing his views, especially now that he’s become a restaurateur during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I left politics, but politics came back to get me,” he said in criticizing Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of COVID-19 issues. “This guy has no regarding for the damage he’s doing to small businesses.”