Rep. Peter King: NYC coronavirus, riots, looting may drive people away permanently

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Sunday that it will not be easy to draw people back to New York City and the surrounding areas who have left due to the coronavirus pandemic and the incidents of looting and vandalism that rocked the metropolis last week after the death of George Floyd.

King, who has represented Massapequa and Central Islip, said his district lost more than 1,000 constituents due to the coronavirus, among nearly 5,000 on Long Island itself.

"It is going to be difficult," he told Jon Scott on "Fox Report."

"As far as the pandemic, New York City lost over 200,000," he added. "There is no doubt the New York City metropolitan area was the epicenter of the pandemic and we are coming out of that... People are going to be reluctant to go back into Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens until they have some assurance of security and safety."


He said that in addition to coronavirus concerns, people may think twice before visiting the city often seen as the capital of the world, because of the rioting and unrest seen last week and extremist activists calling for weakening law enforcement.

'What they've seen over the last week is going to scare people away. You have a place like Fifth Avenue that has been destroyed. Macy's was attempted to be burned down. There is graffiti on St. Patrick's Cathedral," he said. "You have demonstrations at the Barclays Center [in Brooklyn]. That has to be under control."

He continued, "If it's not, it will be very difficult to have people come back to work and live there and to walk the streets there; to go to restaurants."

King said some of the protesters' "bumper sticker" slogans against the NYPD would push the city back to previous decades when it was much less safer all around. "Everyone of all races and nationalities [need] to get together and resolve this and not be demonizing people."


He continued, "Every innocent death is wrong whether it is white or black. But, to be... reversing the policies of the last 20 years, which saved thousands of lives, and doing it just basically on bumper stickers, 'Defund the police,' that's going to get us nowhere."

All those factors considered, New York City faced an uphill recovery, King added, noting that people already have been moving away from the urban sprawl to places upstate or in New Jersey and Pennsylvania -- specifically referencing the high state and city taxes. "[They may n]ot just mov[e] out to The Hamptons. I can see people moving out of state altogether."

Fox News' Jon Scott contributed to this report.