New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani is not participating in person at Monday night's Republican debate, choosing to participate remotely after he was told he won't be allowed to attend since he has chosen to remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
"I'm obviously seeing consequences in what I believe is my informed decision on this," Giuliani said in a news conference Sunday outside CBS headquarters in Manhattan, The New York Times reports.
He added that if he is elected as governor, he will "throw all of these mandates in the dustbin of history."
The first of the party's debates is being held on WCBS-TV, which has a company policy that will not allow Giuliani, who says he has "natural immunity" to COVID-19, into the station without proof of his vaccination status.
"I chose very clearly that I was not going to get the shot," Giuliani, the 36-year-old son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said in his news conference. He said he made his decision after he "looked at the data" on the vaccinations.
"I don't think that's something that even someone who has chosen to get the shot should have to do, from a constitutional standpoint," he said.
Giuliani, before his news conference, released a letter he wrote to WCBS, in which he argued that the company's policy was "arbitrary" and that it "serves to discriminate against a political candidate and their access to equal opportunity and religious liberty."
However, WCBS responded that its broadcast center's policy, which requires all visitors to be vaccinated, dates back to last year after having been developed "in consultation with health care experts, government officials and the many unions representing our employees."
The station said that any candidate who has not been vaccinated is welcome to participate in the debate remotely.
The debate will include candidates Rep. Lee M. Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and corporate turnaround expert Harry Wilson.
Giuliani offered to be tested to prove that he's not infected.
Zeldin, in a tweet Sunday, called the station's remote option a "nonstarter" and said the "reason to have him [Giuliani] virtual is ridiculous."
In another post, Zeldin insisted that "no COVID vaccine mandate at all should exist in any way, shape, or form on anyone."
Astorino also spoke out, saying that "all four candidates should be onstage," and argued that "discriminatory and unscientific vaccine mandates" would not prevent the transmission of COVID.
Meanwhile, Giuliani has said that the candidates should be debating almost every day before the June 28 primary. He has also continued to argue against mandates for medical workers and others.
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