Editor’s Note: This article has been updated.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown Democrats held a press conference Monday to condemn an “appalling” Republican Party advertisement they say “smacks of racism and lies.”
The front of the advertisement, mailed to Yorktown voters last week, includes an altered image depicting former supervisor Susan Siegel as a puppet master pulling the strings of supervisor candidate Ilan Gilbert and council candidates Vishnu Patel and Alice Roker.
The advertisement, paid for by the New York Republican State Committee, says, “Gilbert, Patel and Roker all support making Yorktown a Sanctuary Town! That means making Yorktown a safehaven [sic] for illegal immigrants, causing your taxes to go up!”
The advertisement goes on to ask, “How can we trust them to protect us when all they want is to protect them?” (Emphasis in original). It concludes by urging voters to, “Say no to the Frightful Four!”
The back of the advertisement, which includes a picture of the Republican candidates for supervisor, council, judge, highway superintendent and county legislator, says the slate will be “Standing up for taxpayers… Never taking a knee!”
Elliot Krowe, co-chair of the Yorktown Democratic Committee, told Yorktown News that he was “appalled” when he first saw the advertisement.
“The racist, nativist, bigoted, intolerant, immigrant-bashing character of this lit piece was not lost on its Republican authors or publishers,” Krowe and co-chair Ron Stokes said. “It was not a mistake or an error in judgment. It was a purposeful, intentional and calculated effort to promote their ticket by appealing to a demographic that trades in these notions, that unmistakably hears these codes and whistles for what they are—calls to ‘Blood and Soil.’”
The Yorktown Democrats held a press conference at 5 p.m. Monday at Yorktown Town Hall to “denounce” the advertisement.
Gilbert said the advertisement contained “vile” and “anti-patriotic” rhetoric.
“From childhood I’ve been instilled in me a sense of right and wrong and I don’t need the Republican candidates and their leadership to be my moral compass and tell me what it means to be an American,” Gilbert said.
Roker noted that five out of the six Republican candidates on the mailer are elected officials.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this mailer is filled with racist overtones,” Roker said. “As a former elected official, I always felt that we were and should be held to a higher moral standard.”
Patel, holding up a copy of the advertisement, led a chant of: “No dirty tricks! Renounce it now!”
Matt Slater, chair of the Yorktown Republican Town Committee, responded to the press conference by saying, “Illan Gilbert, Alice Roker and Vishnu Patel are failing to justify their support of a sanctuary policy that every law enforcement agency—including the Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association—vehemently opposes for putting people’s safety at risk by protecting illegal immigrants who commit a crime. These disingenuous antics are nothing more than an attempt to distract voters from their support of this crazy policy.”