Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel caught on mic asking to speak at post-protest conference: 'If I didn't have a primary I wouldn't care'

Rep. Eliot Engel and other Bronx elected officials.
(Image credit: Screenshot/Twitter)

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) was already in hot water after not returning to his Bronx district amid the COVID-19 crisis. This probably won't help.

On Tuesday, Eliot, who represents parts of Bronx and Westchester counties, joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for press conference following violent protests in the area the night before. A livestream of the conference began before Diaz actually began speaking, and at one point, Engel can be heard asking for a speaking slot, repeatedly saying "if I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care."

Diaz initially outlined exactly who would be speaking after protests turned into vandalism in the borough, noting that if every elected official was allowed to talk, "you would never get out of here." Engel then chimed in to say "if I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care," and Diaz quickly shut him down. "Don't do that to me. Everybody has a primary," Diaz said.

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Engel is trying to avoid a repeat of 2018, in which longstanding Democratic congressmember Joe Crowley of Queens and the Bronx was ousted in a primary by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). A field of several progressives challenging Engel narrowed down to one on Monday as Justice Democrats-backed Andom Ghebreghiorgis dropped out and endorsed Working Families party pick Jamaal Bowman.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.