Ed Cox returned to the top of the state Republican Party on Monday – and immediately said the organization would not support a candidate in the 2024 presidential primary, including former President Donald Trump.
“That’s what I did in 2016,” Cox, 76, told The Post as he reclaimed the party chairmanship after a four-year absence.
Cox — who previously held the title from 2009 to 2019 — was referring to the state’s GOP remaining neutral for the 2016 race for the White House.
“Donald Trump asked me a week before the primary to support him. I said, ‘I can’t do this,'” Cox recalled, explaining that in open races without a starter, that’s his usual position.
Hometown Trump easily won the New York primary in 2016, and thereafter Cox and the establishment rallied behind him.
The party endorsed incumbent President Trump when he sought re-election in 2020.
Cox — who is married to Trish, the daughter of the late President Richard Nixon — said he wanted to give all 2024 GOP candidates the opportunity to cross the state and raise money for local Republican clubs.
“We want all Republican candidates for president to run,” Cox said.
But longtime Trump propellant Carl Paladino slammed Cox as an “anachronism” and said the state GOP should embrace Trump “like our guy.”
“What did Trump do wrong? Trump is what this country needs right now. Trump instills confidence in the future,” said Paladino, an incendiary Buffalo-area businessman who co-chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in New York.
Trump, 76, is a declared candidate in his bid to reclaim the White House.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina GOP governor who served as Trump’s appointed US ambassador to the United Nations, has also officially jumped into the primary race with little-known tech executive Vivek Ramaswamy.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is also expected to enter the GOP race, while former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu are also considering a run.
Despite being early in the process, recent polls show DeSantis would be Trump’s most formidable arch-enemy for the GOP nomination to face Democratic President Biden, 80, the longest-serving commander-in-chief of all time. .
During President Cox’s acceptance speech at the Marriott Hotel in Albany, he said Republicans stand for “safer streets, good jobs, and good schools.”
He claimed Democrats in charge of state government made New York less safe with bail reform, blocked jobs by opposing fracking or natural gas extraction, and opposed efforts to expand charter schools.
Meanwhile, Upstate Rep. Nick Langworthy, the incumbent GOP chairman, has called out fellow congressman George Santos — a serial liar being investigated for his lies and shady finances — like an outcast at the event.
Langworthy debited the names of every Republican member of Congress except Santos, joking, “We’ll skip one” – to the delight of the crowd, the Albany Times Union.
Cox helped fund the successful legal fight last year that stopped state Democrats from gerrymandering local congressional districts, leading the GOP to seats in New York and helping secure a majority in the House. .
He also worked with Ron Lauder to raise money through Super Pacs to help Republican Lee Zeldin’s strong campaign for governor against Democrat Kathy Hochul, who also helped GOP candidates in the races. on the decline.
Cox joined the Trump campaign when Trump booster Langworthy replaced him as party chairman.
A business and finance lawyer, Cox has poured his own wealth into party coffers over the years.
Cox helped found the SUNY Charter School Institute under former GOP Governor George Pataki and supports efforts to lift the cap on charter schools in New York City.
He and his wife Tricia Nixon met when they were high school students and married in the White House Rose Garden in 1971.
Cox re-emerged as the safe choice for party chairman when other candidates failed to ignite — including Michael Henry, the state’s GOP nominee for attorney general last year; Lawrence Garvey, Rockland County GOP Chairman; Hudson Valley Assemblyman and Congressional candidate Colin Schmitt and Upstate Assemblyman Chris Tague, Republican Party Chairman Schoharie.