Andrew Yang was hoping for a political endorsement Wednesday when he virtually sat down with members of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, which the New York Times says is "arguably the leading LGBT club" in NYC. Instead, the mayoral candidate, currently a frontrunner in the city's race, got quite a few raised eyebrows. In his interview with the club, Yang waxed rhapsodic about his love for the LGBTQ+ community, saying at one point, "I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party" and "We have, like, this incredible secret weapon. It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all." Members found him more eager to talk about gay bars and the Pride parade than actual policy issues, they say.
"Gay, gay, gay. Wow. More to us than just that," read a sample comment in the chat that accompanied the virtual meeting. Another attendee tells NBC News Yang's remarks were "tokenizing," and that he spoke to the group as if members were "aliens." The club's president tells Politico Yang came across as a "tourist" who "wanted to visit a gay bar." Even so, the Times notes that Yang was never likely to win the club's endorsement, which it eventually voted to give to NYC comptroller Scott M. Stringer, with whom it has a longstanding relationship. It also endorsed second- and third-place candidates, and Yang won neither spot. Meanwhile, more than 400 Asian New Yorkers formed "Asians Against Yang" to oppose his candidacy, Yahoo News reports, and a group of about the same number of young progressives is also formally opposing him, ABC 7 reports. (He's also getting flak for his reaction to a "joke.")