By Ilana Siyance
Former President Donald Trump placed several Republicans on his black list, for having voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican Representatives whose district includes Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, was among the 13 GOP members to vote for the bill. However, she managed to escape Trump’s wrath.
As reported by the NY Post, on Sunday, Trump said he still backs Malliotakis. “She spoke to me. I still support her,” Trump said of Malliotakis. The former president has threatened that he will support potential primary challengers for most of the House Republicans who voted in favor of the infrastructure bill. At a recent National Republican Congressional Committee dinner, Trump ripped the members who voted for the bill, but he also spared Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania from getting on his naughty list, although they also voted in favor.
Trump is still the most influential person in the GOP, and Malliotakis still needs his backing. Last year, she managed to defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Max Rose, but her district is known to be purple or battleground territory that can go either way. Trump also has a strong system of support in Staten Island, and losing his approval would not be good for Malliotakis, a political newbie. His allegiance improves her odds of winning re-election next year, and helps her odds of defeating any potential primary challenges.
As per the Post, she too admitted that she spoke to the former president last week to explain her stance. “I spoke to President Trump. He’s still with me. I’m still with him. It’s important to me,” said Malliotakis, without adding too many details. Malliotakis defended herself, saying she went for the infrastructure vote as a means to fixing the run down road, bridges and ports. “I cast my vote FOR the bipartisan infrastructure bill and AGAINST advancing the socialist spending spree,” she tweeted last week. “For far too long our leaders have failed to modernize our aging roads, highways & bridges, upgrade sewer systems & implement flood resiliency projects.”
On Friday, however, when the House voted on President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which would dispense roughly $2 trillion in federal funds, Malliotakis blasted the bill and voted against it, further aligning herself with Trump.