New York Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests Engel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left MORE (D) said Thursday that he will not be seeking an endorsement from the New York Times over a controversial op-ed by Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (R-Ark.) that it published the day before.
“I have decided not to seek the New York Times endorsement and I call on my opponents in this race to do the same,” Engel said in a statement.
Cotton’s op-ed encouraged President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE to send military forces to cities facing protests incited by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody last week.
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“No U.S. Senator should be calling out the military on the pages of the New York Times. And no progressive leader can morally accept the paper’s endorsement,” Engel said, adding that he has canceled a scheduled interview with the paper’s editorial board.
The Times, which has yet to release its 2020 congressional endorsements, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, is facing a push from the left in the June 23 primary. On Monday, Andom Ghebreghiorgis, one of two progressives originally challenging Engel in New York’s 16th District, dropped from the race and endorsed Jamaal Bowman, a Bronx school principal who is backed by Justice Democrats.
On Wednesday, Bowman was endorsed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D), who achieved her own upset primary victory in 2018 against former longtime Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Engel says he refuses to seek NYT endorsement over Cotton op-ed Ocasio-Cortez endorses Engel primary challenger MORE (D) in a neighboring district.
Engel made headlines on Tuesday when he was heard saying, “If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care” after he was told not all elected officials gathered at an event to address Monday night protests would get a chance to speak.
Engel told The Hill in a statement that he asked to speak because he wanted to let his constituents know where he stood on the issues being discussed.
Bowman said the exchange was “painful to watch.”
“We need to be taking care of our communities right now — whether it’s election season or not,” Bowman said in a tweet.