New York Senate Democrats Apologize for Comparing Climate Change to 9/11

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    Sen. Rachel May of Syracuse and Sen. Robert Jackson of New York City sparked a whirlwind of criticism on Tuesday when they posed with a banner that featured a plane on a collision course with the World Trade Center alongside the words “Climate Change.” The senators posed for the banner at a rally “outside the state capitol in Albany for supporters who want $15 billion included in the budget for ‘climate justice,'” according to Fox New York.

    Photos of the state senators prompted fierce condemnation from Republicans.

    “This shameful use of 9/11 imagery offends every New Yorker. My colleagues are using a horrific attack on our Nation to advance their political agenda. The [Democrats] should condemn this disgusting display,” tweeted Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt.

    “They should never conflate 9/11 with climate change or, quite frankly, any issue,” Ortt told Fox New York.

    Jackson immediately apologized on his Twitter account, claiming he was unaware of what the banner said after posing with multiple activists.

    “I did not note the details of the artwork and would never support anything that denigrates the memory of all who were impacted by 9/11. The artwork depicted is wrong and I fully reject it,” he said on Twitter.

    “As a NYC native who continues to be personally impacted by the events of that horrific day, I sincerely apologize to anyone who might be confused by any political ploy to mischaracterize my actions,” he continued.

    May echoed many of Jackson's sentiments, saying she “posed for numerous photos with activists, and did not see the content of the sign.”

    “The imagery on the banner is unacceptable and I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state's history to score cheap points,” May said. “I apologize sincerely to all New Yorkers and call upon the organizers to similarly condemn this message.”

    While Jackson claims he never saw the banner, footage obtained from Fox New York showed otherwise. At one point, Jackson even repeated the very words on the banner.

    “Images from the event showed Jackson addressing the crowd with the banner fully on display behind him,” the outlet noted. “However, after Jackson emailed his statement, Fox 5 News became aware of a video showing Jackson looking directly at the banner, holding a megaphone, and repeating the words that are on it.”

    The climate change organization New York Renews originally posted a video of the banner on its Twitter and Facebook, but later removed it.

    “We have deleted the video from our accounts so that the image will not be shared further,” the group told Fox. “New York Renews did not invite or sanction this banner and we condemn the use of this imagery.”

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