Four Republican candidates are set to take the stage for Monday night’s gubernatorial debate. However, one of them will be forced to do so remotely.
Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced Sunday that he won’t be allowed to participate in the WCBS debate in person because he’s required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Giuliani has been open about his decision to be unvaccinated and is often seen without a mask at public events.
The debate is set to be held at 7 p.m. on CBS2 with Giuliani, Representative Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, and Harry Wilson, a businessman.
On his Twitter account, Giuliani posted a letter that he addressed to WCBS’s general manager, Johnny Green, where he claimed that the network’s vaccination policy is “inconsistent” with CDC data that shows that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission or infection — and was thus instead meant to discriminate against him. Giuliani intends to participate in the debate remotely, though he wrote that the network’s requirement that he do so is “insisting that I put myself at a disadvantage.”
WCBS, which is considered the network’s flagship station, released a statement explaining that the “CBS Broadcast Center requires that visitors seeking to enter the building must be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a policy that was introduced last year in consultation with health care experts, government officials and the many unions representing our employees.”
Giuliani is receiving support from an unlikely place: his primary opponents. In a tweet, Zeldin wrote, “Tomorrow’s CBS GOP primary debate needs ALL four people ON STAGE. A COVID vax mandate shouldn’t exist. That aside, no good reason the COVID vax mandate should prevent anyone from being on stage IN PERSON. The only way to do this right is for all four of us to be on stage together.”
Astorino also said that all of the candidates should be allowed on stage, adding, “That we’re still doing discriminatory and unscientific vaccine mandates when we’ve long known vax doesn’t prevent infection/transmission is PC theater. Stupid.”