Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Daily Kos: “NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: Taking on Trump”

April 10, 2018

As published by Daily Kos, on April 10, 2018.

On Sunday, April 8, the White Plains Presbyterian Church hosted a “State of the Resistance” forum featuring a talk by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. It was followed by a question and answer period.

It was a bright, crisp day. When I arrived, a handful of anti-abortion demonstrators, several with fetal imagery placards, were present. I was informed that the group turns up whenever there is a “progressive” activity in Westchester.

The church was packed. Rev. Jeffrey Geary described his congregation as multi-racial, with members hailing from thirty countries. He qualified his ministry as a force for resistance, creating action for change.

There were numerous Democratic officials present, from the leader of the Westchester County Democratic Committee to George Latimer, elected in November to serve as Westchester County executive. The former spoke of “fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves.” The latter introduced Schneiderman saying, “We have a people’s lawyer for the state of New York.” Also in attendance were candidates Shelley Mayer and Alessandra Biaggi.

Thomas Roach, mayor of White Plains, gave a hyperlocal report on how his office was dealing with climate change, police policy, and immigration protection.” He mentioned that shortly, a “gun buy-back” would be taking place.

The introductory line that Schneiderman was “protecting New York from 45,” garnered cheers and applause.

Schneiderman, in an open-collared shirt, appeared relaxed as he outlined how his office tackles the small issues people need resolved (the money the gym won’t refund) as well as the large-scale problems. He did a rundown of the key initiatives he has undertaken, including leading the charge against the Muslim Ban, climate change concerns, and most recently pushing back against the call for a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

The audience listened as Schneiderman spoke persuasively about the significance of the present moment. “This is a battle for our future and an important movement for our country. We are now called on to rise and turn back the efforts to divide us,” he said.

Some levity was injected when Schneiderman said wryly, “I’ve known the President for years. I sued him for fraud. He sued me back. I wasn’t expecting him to temper his views.”

Schneiderman talked about the alliance formed with Attorneys General from various states. “After the anti-Muslim ban, within 36 hours I stood with other AGs to sue [an action] that was unconstitutional.” Now, the group conducts weekly conference calls. “The legal resistance is formidable,” Schneider continued. His office is currently working on 130 cases.

“This is where the resistance turns into a movement for public change,” Schneiderman said. “We can fill in for the federal government and show a positive vision on immigrants, net neutrality, and LGBT rights.” After a pause, Schneiderman added dryly, “I’m not waiting for Jeff Sessions to enforce civil rights laws.”

Equally scathing about Scott Pruitt, Schneiderman defined the rollback of protections by the EPA head as “malevolence tempered by incompetence.” He quipped, “We will keep challenging Scott Pruitt — or more likely, his successor.”

Comparing the post-Trump election rise in activism to the Vietnam era, Schneiderman pointed to the “beginnings of a political movement,” emphasizing that it could not be a “short-term transaction,” but needed to be a “long-term commitment.”

He then asked the crowd, “Are we going to rise to the occasion and build the next great movement?”

The answer was unanimous.