PARAMUS – Joined by Syrian Christians outside their church here this afternoon wielding “Hands off Syria” signs, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan said the United States must not launch attacks against the Middle Eastern country.
“More destruction can only put more people at risk there,” said Lonegan in the face of calls by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for surgical airstrikes in the aftermath of allegations that the regime in power used chemical weapons against its own people.
“No bombing, no bombing,” a chant rose from a few dozen members of the Assyrian Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary community, joined by their archbishop and the GOP general election opponent of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Democratic nominee for Senate.
Menendez earlier today said the strikes would in part serve as a punitive measure against the Assad Regime.
Lonegan disagrees, arguing that the United States should not be in the business of punishing governments, and called any strike against Assad a PR stunt, which would further destabilize the embattled nation.
“I am urging Bob Menendez and Cory Booker not to be drawn into a war we cannot afford,” Lonegan said. “No action should be taken without a vote of Congress. Congress must vote before America engages (with missiles).”
During the question and answer period of Lonegan’s press conference, members of the media asked the Republican candidate to clarify comments he made regarding the weirdness of some of Booker’s personal habits, leading critics to conclude that Lonegan was gay-baiting.
“I’m much more concerned about Syria,” Lonegan said when asked about the comments. “Where does Cory Booker stand on bombing Syria? Will Cory Booker be a rubber stamp on Syria?”
Reporters continued to pursue his comments about liking being a guy, asking for clarity.
“I’m concerned about a potential war in Syria, not validating Cory Booker’s lifestyle,” Lonegan said. “This election is not about whether or not Cory Booker is gay or straight.”
Reporters pointed out to the candidate that he was the one who mentioned his affection for “guyness,” unleashing others’ conclusion that he implied gay males are less than fully men.
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"You know what? I'm still Vinny Prieto. I'm still the same guy. This is always a great event — to see people, to talk about business, to hear about issues and concerns." - Assembly Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32).- The Star-Ledger
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