Two Democratic lawmakers are under fire for promoting a banner that equated climate change to the deadly terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
Photos from an Albany-based climate change rally held Tuesday show State Senators Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) and Rachel May (D-Syracuse) smiling while holding up a sign that reads: “Climate change…Wake up America. 2050 is too late.”
The poster disturbingly depicts an airplane flying straight for the Twin Towers that were destroyed by al-Qaeda terrorist hijackers flying jet airliners into them over two decades ago.
The image likened the deadly effects of those attacks to climate change, as advocates were gathered outside the state Capitol rallying for Gov. Kathy Hochul to add more money in her $216 billion budget proposal for environmental initiatives.
“This shameful use of 9/11 imagery offends every New Yorker. Senator Rachel May and Senator Robert Jackson today used a horrific attack on our nation to advance their political agenda,” state Sen. Minority Leader Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) slammed the pair.
“It is even more disturbing to see a New York State Senator smiling behind a picture depicting the biggest terrorist attacks on our nation. Every member of the Senate Democratic Conference must immediately condemn this disgusting action.”
The banner also drew ire from New York’s former three-term Gov. George Pataki – who was the state’s chief executive during the attacks.
“This is a cruel stunt that is an insult to the families who lost loved ones and the heroes who responded to those attacks. I never thought New York politicians could stoop this low – we can have little hope unless they are kicked out ASAP,” tweeted Pataki.
Both pols apologized via Twitter. May claimed she did not see the content of the sign.”
“The imagery on the banner is unacceptable and I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state’s history to score cheap points. I apologize sincerely to all New Yorkers and call upon the organizers to similarly condemn this message,” she added.
Jackson however claimed he “did not note the details of the artwork” in a tweet.
“Indeed the only time I saw the banner in its entirety was on the minority leader’s social media. There are two truths here: climate justice is not a political agenda and 9/11 can never be used for political points,” he added, referring to Ortt’s social media posts.
But video evidence obtained by The Post shows him reading the words and shouting them through a blow horn, after pointing at the banner repeatedly.
“I have never stood up in front of a banner I didn’t know what it said, with a big smile on my face,” scoffed Ortt at a press conference inside the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon.
Rally organizer NY Renews, a climate change coalition, condemned the image and said the sign owner was asked to leave the event. The group declined to identify the individual.
A rep for the New York State Nurses Association also denied affiliation with the artwork holder and disapproved of the message in an email to The Post.
The rally took place outside the state Capitol, which is across the street from the Empire State Plaza – home to the New York State Fallen Firefighters memorial that honors the emergency workers killed that day.