Local Power Broker for Borough President traveled to D.C. on Day of Capitol Insurrection

Local Power Broker for Borough President traveled to D.C. on Day of Capitol Insurrection

Leticia Remauro, a GOP candidate for Staten Island Borough President with a history of racist remarks, was among a busload of Islanders who traveled to Washington D.C. on January 6. In screenshots from a now-deleted Facebook Live video, Remauro – a 30-year power broker in the borough – broadcast herself from Washington D.C. Remauro, and her fellow passengers, were on their way to Donald Trump’s ‘March to Save America’ rally at the National Mall that preceded the insurrection at The Capitol.

City Council District 50 candidate Sam Pirozzolo, owner of the infamous giant "T" lawn sign, shared a photo to social media of the bus ride to D.C., tagging Remauro, and local artist Scott Lobaido - responsible for the unauthorized paint line along Hylan Blvd.’s divider.

Remauro made national headlines for shouting “Heil Hitler'' at a rally opposing coronavirus restrictions, after being called out by local activist Jasi Robinson. Remauro initially defended her anti-semitic remarks in a Facebook comment writing, "I admit it wasn't my most eloquent speech but I hope you can see that in this case I was comparing the Mayor to Hitler sending troops in to take peoples property in Germany."

On December 19th, 2020, Remauro also posted on Twitter about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, hoping she'd be sterilized by the Covid-19 vaccine. This comment recalls the history of eugenics and forced sterilization of women of color in the U.S., seen most recently in revelations about forced sterilizations in ICE facilities.

Community activist Tammy Greer Brown criticized the apparent enabling of Remaruo across the Island in a widely-shared Facebook post:

"We gave {Remauro} access to our communities knowing full well what it means to be Republican on Staten Island," Greer Brown wrote. "She infiltrated our communities and became friends with Democrats, Republicans, Religious, Non-religious, Community, Black, Brown, Jewish & White folks on Staten Island. and never had to change ANYTHING, NOT ONE THING about herself, nor was she asked to do so."

But Remauro is more than a fringe far-right Trumpist, as Greer Brown points out in her post. The candidate is a staple in the borough’s political scene and is linked to powerful, mainstream political figures on the Island, like Representative Nicole Malliotakis. Greer Brown also notes Remauro has worked with both Republicans and Democrats in her involvement with community groups and campaigns over the years.

Malcolm Penn, of the anti-violence group True 2 Life, wrote in a Facebook post that Islanders should "re-evaluate [their] place in politics and community outreach" if they're working with people like Remauro in light of her participating in the storming of the Capitol.

Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Democrat Diane Savino jointly honored Remauro in 2011, then chairwoman of Community Board 1, in celebration of Women's History Month. Remauro's PR company – The Von Agency – also worked on Malliotakis's unsuccessful mayor bid in 2017 and managed Malliotakis's social media for her successful 2020 congressional campaign. Malliotakis spoke out against Capitol rioters and condemned Remauro's comments, but neither her nor outgoing Staten Island Borough President James Oddo have inclined to whom they will support in the upcoming Republican primary on June 22.

According to an anonymous source from the Staten Island Republican Party, where Remauro served as chair from 1999-2002, the local party establishment must figure out how to move on in this "post-Trump world" speaking to City & State in January, and suggested that Remuaro and Pirozzolo represent the party's fringes.

But local activist Greer Brown disagrees. She suggests that Remauro's brand of Trumpism, close alignment and continued support of the former president--which may have been the strategy that led to Malliotakis's 2020 victory--will continue to work in her favor among other positions that appeal to bipartisan voters. For example, focus on supporting law enforcement after a summer of Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests on the Island and across the nation.

Yet the hyperfocus on Donald Trump and sensationalism caused by the words and actions of his most ardent supporters serves a narrative that Trump's influence radically altered the political scene and life in general on Staten Island. Yet strong support for law enforcement; anti-immigrant sentiment; and racial and class divisions that predated Trump continue to define local politics.

Since the controversy stirred up by Remauro came and went in early January, campaign signs continue to appear across the borough bearing Remauro's likeness and the statement "I stand with law enforcement."

Challenging Remauro for the Republican Party nomination is Councilmember Steven Matteo - the apparent frontrunner. Democrat Lorie Honor, who helped co-found Staten Island Women Who March, is also seeking to become the borough’s first woman to assume the role.

The question still remains as to which candidate will stand up for Staten Island's most vulnerable communities, or instead maintain the moderate status-quo to satisfy the borough's insular political elite.

Disclaimer: Jacqueline Caurso is a paid member of Ranti Ogunleye's campaign for City Council District 49. This article is in no way influenced or instructed by the campaign. Plea for the Fifth speaks truth to power and is critical of the Republican and Democratic establishments. It's a top priority for PFT5 to be as transparent as possible about any conflicts of interest.

Cover Photo: Campaign election sign of Leticia Remauro for Staten Island Borough President along Hylan Blvd.
Photograph by Sean Ghazala | Plea for the Fifth

If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please subscribe.