By THE VILLAGER
May 17, 2017
Tuesday night, City Councilmember Corey Johnson went on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News to discuss his bill that would force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
Johnson’s measure would require all New York City concession contractors to release their tax returns — but only if they have their personal name on their business. Trump owns the Trump Golf Links on city land in the Bronx.
Not surprisingly, Carlson quickly pivoted the discussion to another tangential topic and then argued over that with Johnson. Carlson is a bright guy, but, from what we know of his show, this is his shtick — to wind up berating and badgering his guests over a topic out of left field.
In this case, Carlson harangued the councilmember that, basically, he should not be concerned with Trump’s secret tax returns and should instead “do his job” and focus on quality-of-life issues in his Council District 3 (the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen).
“You preside over a city that just decriminalized public urination, and you’re taking your time to basically grandstand on the national stage,” Carlson fumed. “How about filling some potholes and arresting some public urinators?”
“This is about transparency and public accountability,” Johnson calmly answered.
“Penn Station, it’s in your district — it’s a homeless shelter, it’s disgusting,” the anchor blared.
Carlson did have one point — that some might say the bill seems to “single out” Trump since it focuses on individuals whose names are emblazoned on their businesses. Government can’t pass laws against individuals, only against behaviors, Carlson noted.
Clearly, Johnson has staked out a position as a leader of “the resistance” in New York City. As we reported in last week’s issue, in his annual West Side Summit, Johnson declared the progressive West Side the ground zero of the New York resistance (“Trump trumps all issues at Johnson summit event”).
Hey, maybe Carlson actually read our article! If so, at least he’s got good taste in local newspapers.
“You give these speeches,” the Fox News talking head fulminated, “I just read one, where you’re like, ‘Trump is bad!’ but you ignore the guy living under the ATM machine or relieving himself… . I go to Penn Station every week. Have you been in the men’s room there?”
Johnson smoothly retorted, “Unlike former Republican Senator Larry Craig, I avoid men’s rooms.”
Nice one! Hey, Johnson’s good! Maybe he should get his own show on CNN someday.
“Do you think the president should release his tax returns?” he came right back at Carlson.
“I don’t know,” the Fox mainstay answered. C’mon, Carlson, you’re quoting British legal precdent one moment, but you really can’t answer that one?
“Why don’t you get on those bathrooms?” Carlson lamely doubled-down.
Johnson smoothly rebutted, “We need an independent counsel” to investigate Trump’s Russian connections, Trump’s real reasons for firing F.B.I. Director James Comey…and on and on and on. …
Let’s get our minds out of the bathroom, already, O.K.? We have a president who might not even last 200 days in office. But who knows? Maybe he’ll somehow manage to hang in there despite a crazy new crisis each week.
And unlike Carlson, we want Johnson to keep leading the resistance. For the record, Johnson is great on quality-of-life issues. He can do both. Now let’s hope that bill gets signed into law.