Donovan Richards unapologetic for inflammatory tweets following victory declaration

Queens Public Library, elected officials, and P.S. 171 students bury time capsule at Astoria branch
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Hours after he declared victory over Elizabeth Crowley in the Democratic primary for Queens borough president Tuesday, July 6, incumbent Borough President Donovan Richards posted a cryptic tweet that mystified many.

“We won!!!” he tweeted after the city Board of Elections released figures that counted ranked-choice voting with absentee ballots that showed Richards ahead of Crowley by 1,044 votes.

“We beat your racist ass” Richards then tweeted while referencing Crowley allegedly telling him that “she would win, because BLM would die?” and “you couldn’t force me to make you a deb bp. I stand on principle.

The tweets were met with messages of support, as well as comments that were critical of Richards’ messaging.

On Wednesday, Richards provided QNS with a statement, in which he was unapologetic.

“As a Black man, I faced my own fair share of prejudice and I will not be silent when racist tactics are clearly at play,” Richards said in a statement released through his campaign. “Since our victory in the June 2020 Democratic primary, Ms. Crowley has repeatedly insinuated that she would have won if not for the death of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement across our country. She later attempted to bully me into giving her a job within our administration with veiled threats of a divisive and dirty campaign if I did not. She clearly followed through on that threat, using the politics of fear throughout this race with mailers disguised as eviction notices and racist dog whistles within her messages on public safety.”

“I’m proud of the positive campaign we ran throughout this election,” Richards concluded. “The people of Queens voted for me to get the job done. Now let’s get back to work.”

Crowley was outraged by Donovan’s accusations.

“I’m extremely disappointed by the slanderous and untruthful remarks made by one of my opponents,” Crowley said in a statement Wednesday. “Politics and campaigning can be tough, and I understand that some may take legitimate policy disagreements personally on the trail. However, I’ve always believed that leadership is about taking the high road and representing the people, not Trump-like bullying on Twitter and making unfounded accusations based on no evidence whatsoever.”

Crowley lost to Richards by 12,000 votes in last year’s special election and closed the gap considerably in this contest.

“I’m proud of the campaign of inclusion and optimism we ran. We touched every single corner of our great borough, hearing the stories of Queens residents who want affordable housing, safe streets and a good education for their children,” Crowley said. “It’s clear that the message resonated; we shocked the political establishment with our strong results, against all odds.”

Crowley did not concede the race to Richards.

“Queens residents want a leader during these times, and strong women should not be bullied out of ensuring that every vote and voice is heard,” Crowley concluded. “Regardless of who wins the final tally, I will always fight for Queens and continue to be a unifying leader for our community.”

Before he took to social media to lambast his opponent Tuesday, Richards said he was honored that the voters had placed their faith in him to lead the Queens recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed.

“Our team has done so much in just over 150 days in office, opening an immigrant welcome center at Borough Hall, breaking ground on new units of affordable housing, diversifying our Community Boards and helping our small businesses,” Richards said. “We’re ready to get back to work and build a Queens that works for everyone. I would like to thank everyone on my team for their incredible effort on this campaign, especially our devoted campaign staff and volunteers. If you made a call, knocked on a door or sent a text — you made this happen! Let’s celebrate this victory and then, let’s get to work!”

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