Democratic members of New York's state legislature were part of a protest that compared climate change to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A pair of Democratic New York state senators, Robert Jackson and Rachel May, hoisted a banner showing a plane with the words "climate change" written on it heading toward the World Trade Center, a visual re-creation of the al Qaeda terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
Jackson and May have both attempted to distance themselves from the protest, claiming they were unaware of the banner's message. Jackson said the first time he saw the banner "in its entirety" was in a social media post criticizing him from Republican opponents.
Video from the protest, however, shows Jackson walking up to the banner during his protest speech and reading it verbatim as he pointed to the images.
NEW: Senator Robert Jackson says he did not realize that he was holding a sign comparing climate change to 9/11 but here is a video of him pointing to the sign and reading it out loud https://t.co/V53EPComgs pic.twitter.com/u9wKsjVwdU
— Morgan McKay (@morganfmckay) March 8, 2022
May also said she did not read the banner, although pictures show her holding it during the protest. "I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state’s history to score cheap points," May said.
The rally was hosted by New York Renews, a group of liberal activists devoted to "climate justice" and renewable energy. The group also attempted to distance itself from the controversial banner, even though it had shared images that clearly feature the controversial banner.
Rob Ortt, a member of the Republican leadership in the legislature, said the "shameful" stunt should be condemned by the entire Democratic caucus.
"Senator Rachel May and Robert Jackson today used a horrific attack on our nation to advance their political agenda," Ortt said. "Every member of the Senate Democratic Conference must immediately condemn this disgusting action."