Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani said he has been barred from participating in-person at an upcoming primary debate because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking at a news conference outside the offices of CBS-TV on Sunday, Giuliani said he will not get the COVID-19 vaccine but did offer to take multiple tests leading up to and on the day of the debate.
Giuliani said he was initially told “that the only thing I would need to do on the day of the debate was to take a test. I agreed to that. I thought that was fair.” He said he was told of the vaccination requirement “about 72 hours before the debate.”
“I told them I would not do that,” he said. “I don’t think that’s something that even someone who has chosen to get the shot should have to do, from a constitutional standpoint.”
Giuliani has decided to debate remotely instead. “I will make sure I debate, whether or not CBS will let me in the studios, or whether it will have to be virtual, because I believe that every single New Yorker should have the right to choose,” Giuliani said.
A spokesperson for CBS-TV said the policy requiring visitors to its broadcast center to be vaccinated was introduced last year, in consultation with health care experts and government officials.
“Any candidate who doesn’t meet this requirement is encouraged to participate in Monday’s debate remotely,” the statement said. “We look forward to providing the opportunity Monday night for the Republican candidates to share their views on matters of importance to the residents of New York State.”
Andrew Giuliani, the son of New York’s former Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is hoping for a chance to unseat Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. He is facing facing Rep. Lee Zeldin, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson in the primary.
Giuliani has criticized vaccine mandates and said Sunday that, if elected, he will restore the jobs of public workers fired for not getting the vaccine. “While your rules will disrupt Monday’s debate, the true injustice is that policies such as these have deprived front-line heroes such as firefighters, police and health care workers of employment and benefits,” Giuliani said in a statement.
He said he chose not to be vaccinated “for a couple of different reasons,” including that federal health officials have said the vaccine “doesn’t actually stop transmission” of COVID-19.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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