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Biden condemns attack on Zeldin: ‘Violence has absolutely no place in our society or our politics’

President Biden on Friday condemned the attack on New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin,” stressing that “violence has absolutely no place in our society or our politics.”

Zeldin, R-N.Y., was attacked with a sharp object at a campaign stop in Perinton, N.Y. Thursday evening. 

“I condemn the attack on Congressman Zeldin in the strongest terms,” President Biden said in a statement Friday afternoon. “As I’ve said before, violence has absolutely no place in our society or our politics.”

The president said he is “especially grateful for the courage of those who immediately intervened, and that he is unharmed and was able to continue his speech.”


“I also want to thank the law enforcement officers who quickly took action and are investigating this attack that defies our fundamental democratic values,” Biden said.

Biden, though, stopped short of addressing the release of Zeldin’s alleged assailant. 

The man who allegedly attacked Zeldin, David G. Jakubonis, 43 of Fairport, N.Y., was charged with attempted assault in the second degree. He was arraigned in Perinton Town Court and released from custody on his own recognizance, the sheriff’s department said.

Zeldin had predicted that his alleged attacker would be released, citing New York’s laws.

“His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were ‘you’re done’, but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy,” Zeldin tweeted early Friday.  “Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes. The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws.”

Zeldin was giving a speech about bail reform at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post when the alleged assault happened. 

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) attends a press conference on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Jakubonis was tackled by AMVETS national Director Joe Chenelly, according to witnesses. 


“His right hand came up, I assume out of his pocket, and he had a blade on his hand,” Chenelly told Fox News Digital. “His fingers were like two finger holes in the blade and lunged at the congressman. And Congressman Zeldin blocked the first lunge. And then as he tried to lunge again, I grabbed him from behind and tackled him down to the ground and held him on the ground.” 

Zeldin released a statement after the attack that said: “Thank you to everyone who reached out following tonight’s attack in Fairport. Someone tried to stab me on stage during this evening’s rally, but fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him. I’m ok, and @EspositoforNY, and all other attendees are safe. The attacker is in custody. Grateful for the attendees who stepped up quickly to assist and the law enforcement officers who quickly responded. I’m as resolute as ever to do my part to make NY safe again.”

No serious injuries were reported. 

Fox News’ Brie Stimson and Adam Sabes contributed to this report. 

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