Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang went into a meeting with the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City (SDNYC) hoping to get an endorsement; he walked out having offended virtually every one of its members.
This is according to the New York Times, whose report on the meeting described Yang pandering to the club’s members, making tone-deaf comments, and glossing over substantive issues that are urgent for LGBTQIA+ people.
But this brief summary does not do justice to just how cringey nearly every word that (reportedly) came out of Yang’s mouth was. Let’s go to the tape: “I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang was recorded telling the group. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”
“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” he continued. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”
Yang also talked about the gay staffers on his campaign—who include two gay campaign managers—seemingly offering their employment as evidence of his connection with the community. And at another point he said he was looking forward to potentially visiting Cubbyhole, one of the few remaining lesbian bars in New York, and hoped to revive the city’s Pride parade. Meanwhile, issues like homelessness and affordable housing were barely mentioned, members said.
Appropriately, Yang got roasted in a chat they used to instant message each other during the endorsement interview:
Following Yang’s performance, SDNYC gave its official support to three of his opponents instead: Scott Stringer, Dianne Morales, and Raymond J. McGuire. Stringer and Morales, while trailing Yang in the polls, also earned the coveted Sunrise Movement endorsement on Thursday, from the group’s New York chapter.
“There were questions and critiques raised about each candidate, but I think it was the tenor with which he addressed the membership that stood out from the other candidates,” Rose Christ, SDNYC’s president, told the Times. The way he spoke about LGBTQ people, she said, struck her as “outdated.”
This is far from the only issue Yang doesn’t know how to talk about. He’s also stumbled on abortion and sex work, and been accused of creating a “toxic bro culture” on his presidential campaign. These gaffes seem to have had little effect on his popularity in the mayoral race; perhaps this time will be different.