Bronx City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., is targeting a pair of his LGBTQ colleagues and finding new ways to blame them for what he says is gay political power, marking yet another twist in the homophobe’s seemingly unending public meltdown.
Diaz, who held a public rally with his supporters on Thursday and maintained his refusal to step down or apologize, turned back to Twitter later that day and on Friday to call out Queens Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for using their so-called power as gay men to influence the collapse of Amazon’s proposed plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City.
“Amazon’s HQ2 leaving is another case of the abuse of power from some City Council Members,” Diaz tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “This is all because of @JimmyVanBramer. He organized folks to push back on Amazon and even got @NYCSpeakerCoJo to fight back as well.”
He tweeted again one minute later — this time with a more direct shot at their sexual orientations.
“This is another indication proving what I have been saying is correct,” he wrote, referring to recent comments he has made — including in an exclusive interview with Gay City News earlier this week — that gays have too much power.
Those tweets were met with widespread resistance, including from Van Bramer himself, who was clearly fed up with Diaz’s nonstop comments about his sexuality.
“You are paranoid, delusional, and full of hatred for the LGBTQ community,” Van Bramer tweeted in response. “Using the Amazon decision to pull out as proof of a vast gay conspiracy just proves what I have been saying. Resign already.”
Diaz fired back yet again, this time in an attempt to blame Van Bramer for making political moves that ultimately hurt his gay colleague.
“Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. This time you cannot play the victim,” Diaz wrote. “You have to take the responsibility for Amazon and you are taking a lot of people down with you, even Speaker Corey Johnson.”
The public back-and-forth concluded for the day when Van Bramer said, “Just resign. You play the part of the homophobe too well!”
Johnson opted not to respond to DIaz’s latest comments after he faced criticism earlier in the week for previously embracing the 75-year-old despite being fully aware of his well-documented history of homophobic comments dating back decades. Johnson expressed regret about that, but still cited “blind spots” and claimed he was unaware of some of Diaz’s past history of homophobia.
Diaz’s scandal also involved, directly or indirectly, multiple members of his own family. Diaz’s wife, Leslie Diaz, penned a bizarre, rambling letter in which she — like her husband — cast blame on the community in as many ways as possible in one missive.
“Yup, the Gay Community does possess immense power, not only in the City Council, but throughout the entire State of New York,” she wrote in the letter, which was posted on Twitter by her husband.
Perhaps the most stunning part of the letter came when she wrote off Van Bramer as “an overly sensitive Chicken Little in the City Council, think his name is Bremer.”
The elder Diaz’s son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. — who has fond hopes of a mayoral future — has been unable to avoid the mess. After he tweeted that his father’s comments were “antagonistic, quarrelsome, and wholly unnecessary” and that he “should apologize,” Leslie said — you guessed it — the gay community has controls over the younger Diaz.
“The Gay Community and its representatives have wielded their proven power, that even Ruben Jr., the Apple of his father’s eyes, was compelled to publicly request an apology from his dad,” she wrote. “But that’s o.k. we forgive.”
Diaz, Sr.’s Council Committee on For-Hire Vehicles was dissolved earlier this week amid the fallout over his anti-gay comments and his decision to ignore demands for an apology or his resignation.
Diaz, Sr., said during his interview with Gay City News that the “only people who could ask for my resignation are the people of the 18th Council District, and that will be in June 2021. I will not resign.”
Whether the City Council will take further action on Diaz, Sr., is not yet clear.