NEW FRESHMAN CLASS OF REPUBLICANS: NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS

November’s elections may have given Democrats what they most wanted- an end to the Trump presidency- but down ticket, they were not as fortunate. Their bid to flip the Senate now rests on a sweep of Georgia’s January runoff races. And in the House, where Democrats expected to increase their majority they in fact lost a number of seats. One of those seats was right here in New York’s 11th congressional district, where incumbent Democrat Max Rose was defeated by Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. The Congresswoman-Elect (NY) who says GOP gains in the House show that the Republicans are “a big tent party” who “recruited qualified women who have something to offer to the American people” joins us tonight.

Aired on December 2, 2020

TRANSCRIPT

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

YOU KNOW, WHILE THE NOVEMBER ELECTION CERTAINLY SEEMED TO HAVE GIVEN DEMOCRATS WHAT THEY MOST WANTED, AN END TO THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY, DOWN TICKET THEY DIDN'T DO SO WELL.

THEIR BID TO FLIP THE SENATE NOW RESTS ON A SWEEP OF GEORGIA'S SENATE RUNOFF RACES THAT WILL BE HELD IN JANUARY.

AND IN THE HOUSE, WHERE DEMOCRATS EXPECTED TO INCREASE THEIR MAJORITY, THEY IN FACT LOST A NUMBER OF SEATS.

ONE OF THOSE SEATS WAS RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK'S 11th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, WHERE INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT MAX ROSE WAS DEFEATED BY REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLYWOMAN NICOLE MALIOTAKIS, WHO JOINS US NOW.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT MALIOTAKIS, WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

YOUR NEW TITLE.

SO LET'S START WITH THE BASICS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MADE THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR RACE?

WHAT WERE THE KEY FACTORS THAT LED TO YOUR VICTORY?

I THINK PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY, IN MY PARTICULAR DISTRICT, ARE VERY UPCELT WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING UNDER THE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION IN GENERAL UNDER ONE-PARTY DEMOCRATIC RULE.

AS YOU SAW, THERE WERE A NUMBER OF POLICIES THAT WERE IMPLEMENTED WHETHER IT BE IN ALBANY, WHETHER TO BE THE CITY COUNCIL LEVEL, AND YES, IN SOME CASES ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL THAT PEOPLE DID NOT AGREE WITH.

STATEN ISLAND AND SOUTHERN BROOKLYN IS MUCH MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN THE REST OF THE CITY.

AND REMEMBER, IT'S A DISTRICT THAT OVERWHELMINGLY VOLTED FOR ME FOR MAYOR AND AGAINST BILL DE BLASIO.

SO IN THE SENSE THAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY WHO WAS GOING TO BE AN ALTERNATIVE, SOMEBODY IN THE CITY THAT WILL PRESENT THE VALUES THAT WE CARE ABOUT, NUMBER ONE BEING PUBLIC SAFETY.

YOU REMEMBER THIS ELECTION TOOK PLACE SHORTLY AFTER THE NYPD BUDGET WAS CUT $1 BILLION.

AND MY OPPONENT HAD MARCHED WITH A GROUP THAT WAS CALLING FOR DEFUNDING THE POLICE AND THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS VERY SENSITIVE TO THIS COMMUNITY.

A COMMUNITY MADE UP OF MANY POLICE OFFICERS, OF MANY CIVIL SERVICE WORKERS WHO STAND WITH THE POLICE OFFICERS.

SO PEOPLE SEE THE RISING CRIME, THEY'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT IT.

I THINK THEY WANTED TO MAKE SURE NEW YORK CITY HAD BIPARTISAN REPRESENTATION IN WASHINGTON AND SOME SORT OF BALANCE BECAUSE IT SEEMS THAT THE SEE IS GOING TOO FAR TO THE LEFT AND IN THIS CASE TOO FAR TO THE LEFT FOR THE PEOPLE I REPRESENT.

SO LET'S TALK ABOUT THE AGENDA YOU'RE GOING TO PURSUE ONCE YOU GET TO WASHINGTON.

I GUESS LAW AND ORDER WILL BE ONE.

IT'S WHAT YOU CAMPAIGNED ON, YOU JUST MENTIONED.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER ITEMS THAT ARE ON THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

I THINK RIGHT NOW OUR CITY IS GOING THROUGH A VERY DIFFICULT TIME.

OUR NATION IS GOING THROUGH A VERY DIFFICULT TIME.

AND THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS NEEDS TO BE RECOVERING FROM THIS PANDEMIC.

WE NEED TO ENSURE A COVID RELIEF PACKAGE IS PASSED.

I'M HOPING IT'S DONE IN THIS CONGRESS.

BUT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR HOSPITALS ARE GETTING THE SUPPORT THAT THEY NEED, THAT THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH UNEMPLOYMENT ARE GETTING ASSISTANCE, ENSURING THE SMALL BUSINESSES RECEIVE THE LIFELINE THAT THEY NEED TO SURVIVE.

REMEMBER, THEY'RE BEING FORCED TO SHUT DOWN IN MANY CASES IN CITIES LIKE OURS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

AND NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.

IT'S GOVERNMENT MANDATED.

THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STEP IN AND ASSIST THEM DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME TO GIVE THEM RELIEF.

I ALSO THINK WITH THE VACCINATION ON THE HORIZON WE NEED TO WORK VERY CLOSELY, THE STATE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES, TO DISTRIBUTE THAT VACCINATION FIRST AND FOREMOST TO OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS, GETTING IT TO THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR SOCIETY, AND THEN DEPENDING ON THE QUANTITY THAT WE ARE ABLE TO PRODUCE WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET IT OUT TO THOSE WHO WANT IT.

SO I THINK THAT HAS TO BE THE REAL FOCUS OF THIS INCOMING CONGRESS, THE DISTRIBUTION OF THAT VACCINATION, BUT ALSO ENSURING THAT WE BEGIN TO REOPEN THIS ECONOMY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK.

AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE REALLY SHOULD BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE IN A BIPARTISAN FASHION.

YOU TALKED ABOUT COVID.

LET ME START THERE.

I WAS GOING TO TOUCH ON IT LATER.

AS YOU KNOW, I MEAN, EVERY DAY YOU GET DIRE PREDICTIONS BY EXPERTS AND BY ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO SAY A DARK WINTER IS COMING.

YOU KNOW, A SURGE IS COMING.

IN FACT, GOVERNOR CUOMO JUST RECENTLY SAID THAT -- CALLED OUT RETIRED DOCTORS TELLING THEM TO BE READY FOR WHEN THE SURGE COMES AGAIN.

ON THE OTHER HAND, AS YOU SAID, WITHIN A MATTER OF WEEKS WE'RE LIKELY TO HAVE A VACCINE, OR THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE PROMISING.

SO WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW WITH THIS?

WELL, WE KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS VIRUS NOW THAN WE DID SIX MONTHS AGO.

THERE ARE NOW THERAPEUTICS THAT ARE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL.

I WAS SPEAKING WITH MY LOCAL HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS.

THEY FEEL THAT THEY ARE IN A POSITION WHERE THEY HAVE THINGS UNDER CONTROL RIGHT NOW.

WE HAVE OPENED UP THE SOUTH BEACH PSYCHIATRIC CENTER ON STATEN ISLAND AGAIN AS A SECONDARY SUPPLEMENTAL HOSPITAL IN CASE THE HOSPITALS DO REACH CAPACITY.

BUT AS YOU SAID, THIS IS REALLY ABOUT HOLDING THINGS -- KEEPING THEM UNDER CONTROL UNTIL WE CAN GET THAT VACCINATION, WHICH IS IMMINENT.

AS YOU KNOW, THE FDA'S GOING TO BE MEETING WITH -- OR THEY HAVE A POLICY REVIEWING COMMITTEE THAT'S GOING TO BE LOOKING OVER THE APPLICATION OF BOTH THE PFIZER AND THE MODERNA VACCINATIONS.

AND THAT WILL BE COMING DECEMBER 10th AND THE 17th.

AND WE EXPECT WITHIN DAYS OR WEEKS AFTER THAT THAT THE FDA WILL APPROVE.

AND SO WE JUST NEED TO BE PREPARED TO MAKE SURE WE CAN GET THIS VACCINE DISTRIBUTED TO OUR FRONT LINE ASAP.

BUT I ALSO DON'T BELIEVE WE SHOULD BE SHUTTING DOWN OUR ECONOMY.

THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCED APPROACH.

I DON'T AGREE WITH SHUTTING DOWN THE ECONOMY AGAIN.

I'M HAPPY THE MAYOR HAS FINALLY AGREED WE'RE GOING TO REOPEN OUR SCHOOLS AND THE GOVERNOR HAS NOT ISSUED ANY FURTHER SHUTDOWNS AT THIS TIME.

I THINK WE HAVE TO DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE VULNERABILITIES, MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE WEARING THEIR MASKS, PROPERLY PARTICIPATING IN SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND MAKING SURE THAT THEY TAKE THE PROPER PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES.

WE NEED TO EDUCATE AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THAT.

BUT WE SHOULDN'T BE HAVING MANDATES AND SHUTDOWNS.

I THINK THAT'S MUCH MORE -- THAT'S VERY DETRIMENTAL.

SO I THINK THERE'S A BALANCED APPROACH HERE WE CAN ACHIEVE.

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE COVID STIMULUS BILL, THE FEDERAL HELP THAT WE NEED.

THE DEMOCRATS AND THE REPUBLICANS WERE UNABLE TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT.

YOU MENTIONED PELOSI WANTED $2.2 BILLION.

MITCH McCONNELL WANTED $500 MILLION.

A BIPARTISAN GROUP HAS COME UP WITH RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE.

TWICE AS MUCH AS WHAT McCONNELL WANTED, HALF OF WHAT NANCY PELOSI WANTED.

THEY JUST CAME OUT WITH THAT EARLY THIS WEEK.

AND AMONG THE THINGS -- I WON'T BOTHER YOU WITH ALL THE DETAILS.

BUT AMONG THE THINGS THAT THIS BILL WILL PROVIDE WOULD BE ANOTHER $160 BILLION FOR STATES AND CITIES.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REPUBLICAN SENATORS DIDN'T WANT.

PLUS $180 BILLION FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.

$288 BILLION FOR MORE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE.

THEY HOPE TO PASS THIS BEFORE YOU GET TO WASHINGTON AS A CONGRESSPERSON.

BUT IF THEY DON'T WOULD YOU BE WILLING, WOULD YOU SIGN ON TO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

LOOK, I BELIEVE THAT THE SOLUTION NEEDS TO BE A BIPARTISAN ONE.

AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT WHAT I'LL BE LOOKING FOR IN ANY TYPE OF LEGISLATION IS TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS TAILORED TO THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, OF OUR LOCAL HOSPITALS, OF OUR SMALL BUSINESSES, OF THE STRUGGLING AMERICANS THAT ARE WITHOUT EMPLOYMENT RIGHT NOW.

ANY TYPE OF STIMULUS TO GET JOBS AND THE ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK, THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR.

BUT IT NEEDS TO BE TAILORED.

AND THE PROBLEM THAT I'VE HAD WITH NANCY PELOSI'S VERSION OF THE BILL THAT WAS PASSED, THE HEROES ACT, WAS THAT THEY PUT IN ALL SORTS OF IDEOLOGICAL WISH LISTS THAT DIDN'T BELONG THERE.

LIKE WHAT?

THINGS LIKE BAIL REFORM.

THEY WERE PUTTING IN A RELEASE OF CONVICTED FELONS OVER THE AGE OF 50.

THEY WERE PUTTING IN ELECTION LAW CHANGES.

THESE WERE THINGS THAT SHOULD NOT ANYBODY ANY COVID RELIEF PACKAGE.

PROBABLY THE BIPARTISAN BILL YOU SPEAK WITH IS PROBABLY A GOOD STARTING POINT.

IT'S PROBABLY SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE, WHICH IS WHAT -- I'M LOOKING FOR A TAILORED BILL THAT ADDRESSES THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS THAT WE HAVE AS A NATION FOR OUR ECONOMY AND FOR HEALTH CARE.

AND I'M GOING TO LOOK TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S NO TYPE OF IDEOLOGICAL WISH LISTS IN THERE.

AND THEN I THINK THAT'S THE BILL THAT WE SHOULD BE PASSING.

BUT I THINK IT'S UNFORTUNATE WITH THE HOUSE COMING BACK TRYING TO TAKE UP LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA AND A BAN ON TIGER KINGS, THESE ARE THINGS THAT -- WE'RE IN A PANDEMIC.

RIGHT?

WE'RE FACING A VERY CRITICAL TIME IN OUR NATION.

WE NEED TO RECOVER FROM THIS.

AND WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER.

AND SO I LOOK FORWARD TO READING THAT BIPARTISAN PROPOSAL.

I AM HOPING AS YOU MENTIONED THAT SOMETHING GETS DONE NOW, NOT WHEN THE NEW CONGRESS COMES IN, BECAUSE TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

SO YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE ONLY REPUBLICAN IN THE NEW YORK CITY CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION.

I'M SURE THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES.

BUT AS YOU SAID, YOU WANT TO JOIN FORCES WITH THINGS THAT ARE GOOD FOR THE CITY.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT A LOT OF NEW YORKERS THINK WOULD BE GOOD FOR THE CITY IS THE REPEAL OF THE SO-CALLED SALT DEDUCTION CAP.

THAT'S THE CAP OF $10,000 TO DEDUCT TAXES FROM YOUR LOCAL AND STATE TAXES THAT WENT INTO EFFECT AS PART OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S TAX BILL OF 2018.

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO VOTE TO REPEAL THE SALT DEDUCTION CAP?

YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

IN FACT, IT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS I TALKED ABOUT DURING MY CAMPAIGN, IS THE NEED TO DO THAT.

IT WOULD BENEFIT THE PEOPLE I RENT, THE HOMEOWNERS PARTICULARLY FROM STATEN ISLAND AND SOUTHERN BROOKLYN.

AND I THINK IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO ALSO MAKE SURE THAT THE FEDERAL DOLLARS, BY THE WAY, THAT WE'RE GIVING TO OUR MAYOR AND THE ADMINISTRATION ARE BEING SPENT WISELY.

AND I THINK THAT'S ANOTHER AREA WHERE WE CAN VERY MUCH WORK ACROSS PARTY LINES.

WE WANT ACCOUNTABILITY.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE MONEY WE'RE GIVING FOR EDUCATION, THE MONEY WE'RE GIVING FOR HOUSING, FOR NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY, THE MONEY THAT WE'RE GIVING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, TRANSPORTATION IS BEING USED PROPERLY.

WE KNOW THE MAYOR HAS NOT BEEN BEST WITH WATCHING OVER OUR TAX DOLLARS, WHETHER IT BE THE RENEWAL SCHOOLS PROGRAM WHICH WAS A WASTE OF NEARLY A BILLION DOLLARS.

THAT'S ANOTHER AREA WHERE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER.

AND THEN LASTLY THE OTHER AREA WHERE I THINK WE CAN REALLY WORK TOGETHER AND SHOULD FIND CONSENSUS IS IN TRANSPORTATION.

NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT SYSTEM HAS TREMENDOUS NUMBER -- AMOUNT OF NEEDS.

WE'D LOVE TO UPGRADE THE SUBWAY SIGNALS.

BUT ALSO THEY HAVE OPERATING ISSUES RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF THE LOW RIDERSHIP.

WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER AS A GROUP TO PROVIDE SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE, ALSO ENCOURAGE THEM TO FIND SAVINGS.

SO I THINK THOSE ARE THREE AREAS WHERE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER RIGHT AWAY.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE BUT I'VE GOT TO GET TO THIS.

YOU HAVE SAID THAT YOU HOPE TO BE A PROMINENT COUNTER TO REPRESENTATIVE OCASIO-CORTEZ'S DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST VIEWS.

AND IT'S BEEN REPORTED THAT YOU INTEND TO BE PART OF A SNAUL GROUP OF LIKE-MINDED FRESHMAN REPUBLICAN HOUSE MEMBERS, A SORT OF FREEDOM SQUAD.

I DON'T THINK THAT'S YOUR PHRASE.

I THINK THAT WAS THE PRESS.

THAT WILL COUNTER THE DEMOCRATS' SO-CALLED SQUAD FAMOUSLY MADE UP OF OCASIO-CORTEZ, ILHAN OMAR, ALANNA PRESSLEY AND RASHIDA TLAIB.

WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU?

WELL, AS YOU KNOW, I'M THE DAUGHTER OF A CUBAN REFUGEE, DAUGHTER OF IMMIGRANTS WHO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY FOR OPPORTUNITY, FOR FREEDOM, FOR LIBERTY.

I'M VERY CONCERNED BY WHAT THE SOCIALIST SQUAD HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF WHETHER IT BE JUST -- ALL SORTS OF IDEOLOGICAL THINGS.

WE COULD TALK ABOUT SOCIALIZED HEALTH CARE, TALK ABOUT THE GREEN NEW DEAL.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S VERY DANGEROUS WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT STACKING THE COURTS AND CHANGING OUR ELECTION LAWS AND DISMANTLING THE U.S. ECONOMY AND DESTROYING FREE MARKET.

THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES THAT THEY'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT AND PEDDLING SINCE THEY'VE BEEN HERE IN WASHINGTON.

I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE COUNTER THAT.

AND WHAT'S NICE ABOUT THIS FRESHMAN CLASS OF REPUBLICANS COMING IN IS THAT WE COME FROM VERY SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS IN THE SENSE THAT EITHER IMMIGRANTS THEMSELVES WHO CAME HERE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES WHERE THEY LEFT EITHER SOCIALISM OR COMMUNISM OR PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO ARE THE DAUGHTER OF IMMIGRANTS WHO FLED THESE POLICY THAT'S AOC AND OTHERS ARE PUSHING.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.

IT'S A MUCH-NEEDED BALANCE, A MUCH-NEEDED COUNTER VIEW THAT WILL I THINK -- WILL BRING NECESSARY STORIES THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE IN OTHER PLACES AROUND THE WORLD.

PARTICULARLY FOR ME COMING FROM NEW YORK CITY, I AM THE ONLY REPUBLICAN IN THE DELEGATION, AND I WILL WORK WITH THE DELEGATION WHERE WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE ISSUES THAT I HAD MENTIONED EARLIER.

WHERE WE DON'T AGREE, I'M GOING TO BE A VERY IMPORTANT VOICE IN HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE AND PUSHING BACK.

OKAY.

WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE AND A HALF LEFT AND I'VE GOT TO GET TO THIS.

THE PRESIDENT OF COURSE CONTINUES TO CONTEST THE ELECTION SAYING IT WAS, QUOTE RIGGED.

SAYING IT WAS, QUOTE, STOLEN.

AND OF COURSE HIS LEGAL TEAM CONTINUES TO CONTEST IT IN THE COURTS IN A NUMBER OF BATTLEGROUND STATES THAT WERE CALLED FOR JOE BIDEN.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON ALL THAT?

IN A MINUTE AND A HALF.

A MINUTE AND A HALF.

I THINK IT'S A LENGTHY DISCUSSION.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY THE PRESIDENT IS RIGHT TO QUESTION IRREGULARITIES AS HE HAS AFFIDAVITS AND WITNESSES.

I THINK THAT WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS JUST GOING THROUGH THAT LEGAL PROCESS.

HE NEEDS TO HAVE A HEARING IN WHICH HE CAN PRESENT ANY EVIDENCE THAT HE HAS.

AND LOOK, AT THE END -- DECEMBER 14th IS WHEN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS GOING TO MEET.

HE'S WELL WITHIN HIS RIGHT TO PRESENT THOSE LEGAL CHALLENGES AND GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS.

IT NEEDS TO BE TRANSPARENT.

THERE WERE A LOT OF CHANGES IN EACH STATE FOR ACCOMMODATION OF THE COVID-RELATED ISSUES.

AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT ABSENTEE BALLOTS THAT WERE PROVIDED WERE DONE SO LEGALLY.

EVERY LEGAL VOTE NEEDS TO BE COUNTED.

EVERY ILLEGAL VOTE NOT COUNTED.

AND I CAN TELL YOU AS SOMEONE -- LOOK, WE FOUND A HANDFUL OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE DECEASED THAT VOTED VIA ABSENTEE IN MY RACE.

LOOK, IT DOES EXIST.

BUT WHETHER IT IS WIDESPREAD, WE NEED TO SEE THAT EVIDENCE.

AND YOU CAN ONLY DO THAT IN A HEARING.

THAT'S WHERE I STAND.

I BELIEVE HE'S WITHIN HIS RIGHTS.

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