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Golden nixes tarnished staffer

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State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) axed his longtime staffer for sharing posts on social media comparing Democrats and survivors of the February Parkland shooting to Nazis.

Golden’s special assistant Anthony Testaverde shared the now-deleted public posts on his now-private Facebook page — the same page he used to promote recent events for his boss, such as an Easter egg hunt and a town hall for Hurricane Sandy recovery. The posts equated the Parkland students who led last weekend’s March for Our Lives protest against gun violence with the youth that joined the Nazi ranks.

“The Democrats are doing Exactly what Hitler did ... He used the Youth to disarm and Control the People This is scary!” read a post shared by Testaverde on March 24, a few hours after the march.

And he also shared another post that same day comparing Parkland survivor David Hogg raising his fist to Adolf Hitler giving the Nazi salute, and likening the teen’s black mourning armband to a swastika armband, with the words: “I knew something was off about this kid.”

When a commentator shamed Testaverde for making such a vile comparison to Hitler, he didn’t back down, but instead insisted, “he had to start somewhere.”

Both of Golden’s Democratic challengers, Bay Ridge journalist Ross Barkan and Bay Ridge Democrats member Andrew Gounardes, called Testaverde’s posts disgusting and demanded Golden boot him from his staff immediately —claiming it wasn’t the first time Testaverde sympathized with the neo-Nazis. During the Charlottesville riots last summer, the Golden staffer stood up for the President, who claimed both neo-nazis and their protesters were to blame for the riots, posting on Facebook he was “So proud that Donald Trump is President of the United States always two sides of the story.”

“His comments are beyond disgusting — they are morally reprehensi­ble,” said Gounardes, who also challenged Golden in 2012. “No one who espouses such despicable hatred and idiocy deserves one dime of taxpayer money.”

Barkan also called the posts sickening, and said it’s a common tactic by ultra-conservatives and anti-Semites to make such offensive comparisons to oppose gun control — and that does not have a place in the community.

“Anti-Semites, racists, and far-right conspiracy theorists have for years opposed common-sense gun control measures by invoking the name of Adolf Hitler,” said Barkan. “The survivors of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School should be commended for their bravery, not likened to the worst mass murderer in history.”

Golden at first merely condemned Testaverde, calling the posts “offensive” and “misguided.”

But by the next afternoon, Golden’s rep sent out an e-mail stating that Testaverde is “no longer employed” by his office since what he shared would not be condoned.

“While freedom of speech is a right that all citizens enjoy, what occurred in this instance was wrong and cannot be tolerated,” Golden said in a statement.

Golden’s office did not respond to requests for comments about whether Testarverde was fired, resigned, received a severance package, or works for Golden in any other capacity, including his campaign.

Golden’s campaign spokesman insisted the state pol’s comments speak for themselves.

“The senator’s statement stands on its own, not something to elaborate on,” said Michael Tobman.

Testaverde did not respond to a request for comment.

•••

Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Gov. Cuomo for his seat, has been busy stumping all over the Borough of Kings — even though her television character Miranda Hobbes was devastated about having to move across the East River because she thought no cabs would take her to Brooklyn.

Nixon, who’s back living across the West River, announced her campaign to unseat Cuomo on March 19 and opened up a state campaign committee, allegedly headquartered on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.

She kicked off her campaign in Brownsville the next day, toured a public housing complex in Crown Heights with Borough President Adams on March 28, and eagerly accepted an invitation from Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) to tour his district.

“Thank you so much. I would love to! New York es #ParaTodos,” Nixon replied to Menchaca on Twitter on March 21 after he invited her to join him on a walk to “learn directly from the many immigrant, working families. You can hear directly about the issues they face everyday. Our neighbors inspire me to do the work I do everyday.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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