Jan. 12, 2022 By Allie Griffin
Queens Council Member Vickie Paladino, who came under fire Tuesday for comparing the city’s vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany, has apologized for her remarks.
Paladino made the comparison during an interview with NY1 when explaining that she wouldn’t disclose whether she had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Her statement came about a week after she had been barred from the City Council chambers for refusing to share her COVID-19 vaccination status.
“I don’t need to show you my papers,” the 67-year-old Republican lawmaker said in the interview. “This is not Nazi Germany.”
Paladino apologized to “anyone who was genuinely offended” on Twitter the day after her interview was published.
“I don’t need to show you my papers. This is not Nazi Germany.” @VickieforNYC won’t say if she’s vaccinated, even if it means no access to @NYCCouncil chambers. More soon on @NY1 @InsideCityHall https://t.co/lYGFktBms5 pic.twitter.com/VwjIBfXYBX
— Emily Ngo (@emilyngo) January 11, 2022
“During an hours-long interview with a reporter in which I spoke passionately about many issues, I made an ill-considered and inappropriate comparison between our government’s vaccine mandates and Nazi Germany,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “Though I immediately regretted what I said, and even asked the reporter to strike it from the record, I take complete ownership of that mistake.”
She said she would be meeting with local Jewish leaders to discuss the matter in the coming days.
“While my intent was to illustrate that requiring residents to show medical papers to earn a living or do everyday activities is an authoritarian practice that does not align with this country’s principles, it is never okay to compare anything to the evil of Nazi Germany,” Paladino said.
Days earlier, the council member tweeted that she was forced to cast her vote for council speaker remotely after she was barred from the chamber floor during the new council’s first meeting.
“Unfortunately, I was barred from the chamber floor due to my refusal to submit vax status to the city,” Paladino tweeted on Jan. 5. “Our government is now interfering with a duly elected representative’s right to access the mechanisms of office.”
She said that several progressive council members expressed concern about her being inside the building because they didn’t know if she was vaccinated.
Paladino said she was told she’d be removed from the chamber floor if she attempted to enter and therefore cast her vote from the minority leader’s office instead of making a scene.
She warned, however, that her courtesy that day would not last.
“Going forward, if anyone has a problem with me in the chamber, they will have to remove me,” Paladino said.
She said she will fight the vaccine mandates both in the city council and throughout the city.
Council members and all city workers are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to maintain their employment. Council members and employees cannot work at City Hall or council offices without proof of vaccination except in cases of approved medical or religious exemptions.
Paladino won the District 19 seat representing Whitestone, College Point, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and parts of North Flushing in November and succeeded Democratic Council Member Paul Vallone.
She narrowly defeated Democrat Tony Avella, who represented the same district in the council from 2002 to 2009.
Paladino’s refusal to reveal her vaccination status is not the first time she has flouted COVID-19 rules. In December 2020, a video of Paladino leading a maskless conga line at an indoor Republican club holiday party went viral.