So much in life comes down to Paterson, that place where the river flows into the Great Falls, where according to local legend the townsfolk once gave even the Jersey Devil a beating, and where Mayor Andre Sayegh continues to be vexed by President Donald J. Trump’s scapegoating of his city as a reason to scrap the vote-by-mail (VBM) process.
“I take exception to him misspelling Paterson,” said Sayegh, referencing Trump’s tweets about “Patterson, New Jersey.”
Maybe he was thinking about the late Floyd Patterson.
Or “maybe the second ‘t’ was for Trump, which we don’t want,” said the mayor.
In any event, the VBM-averse Trump is “oversimplifying the situation,” according to Sayegh.
“The Board of Election was diligent and the Attorney General’s Office was vigilant and those alleged to have committed fraud were brought to justice,” the mayor said, referring to Ward 1 Councilman Mike Jackson and Ward 3 candidate Alex Mendez, among others alleged to have transgressed.
“It’s a clarion call for anyone who would attempt to subvert the system,” said Sayegh, not a justification to derail democracy. “Yes, there were individuals who wanted to engage in foul play, swift action was taken, and the message should resound. All eyes will be on Paterson, from the federal government on down. Anyone who thought about it should think twice.”
Some of the alleged perpetrators are actually back and looking for votes in this Nov. 3rd do-over election.
“They haven’t been convicted,” said the mayor. “But this time, voters will be the judge, jury, and maybe the executioners.”
As for the presidential contest, Sayegh – originally a Mike Bloomberg backer – now supports Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“This is a tragedy,” he said of national conditions under the Trump presidency. “We need empathy and endurance. Joe Biden knows tragedy. He lost part of his family in a car accident. He developed fortitude and endurance, and throughout the tragedy in his life he became empathetic. We need a leader who exemplifies those qualities right now, and if John F. Kennedy were alive right now he would call Joe Biden a profile in courage.”
It’s not the first time the mayor has jousted with the president.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh responded to a tweet from President Donald Trump sent late Sunday night where the president used the city’s recent voter fraud allegations to argue against vote-by-mail elections.
“The last thing Paterson needs is for Donald Trump to tweet about us. It goes to show how much this last election was compromised,” Sayegh said Monday.
Trump tweeted: Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!”