The Greatest Lincoln Dinner in Our 143 Year History!
“A red dot in a sea of blue” is the way Dr. Kim Holmes, Executive Vice President of the Heritage Foundation eloquently praised the work of the Queens Village Republican Club, on the evening of our 143rd Anniversary Lincoln Dinner, an unprecedented success that broke all of our previous records. It was a magnificent celebration of our strength and unity; a great show of force for the more than 350 Republicans, Conservatives, and patriotic friends, who gathered together from every borough of New York City, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and beyond.
They all came to salute our World War II Veterans, to honor our awardees, and hear our celebrated speakers, who hailed from Suffolk County, Florida and Washington D.C., in order to restore faith in the future of our country, our core conservative values, our Constitutional heritage, and our invincible President Donald Trump.
We enjoyed the presence of Russian royalty in the room. One of our dinner guests was Countess Tatiana Nicholas Bobrinskoy, the widow of the Grandson of the Grand Empress Catherine the Great, who courageously refused the request of King George to assist the British, during America’s War of Independence. Knowing this, the opposition is likely to accuse our founding fathers of collusion with Russia. Also, many other distinguished guests were in attendance including filmmaker Alan Sands, the creator and producer of “The 42nd Rainbow Division” a TV mini-series on World War I. City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R- Howard Beach, Ozone Park), State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island), State Senator John DeFrancisco (R-DeWitt) and over a dozen Republican candidates were present, as well as numerous District Leaders, County Chairs, and even our beloved former State Senator Frank Padavan.
They came to indulge their palates as well, with a Cocktail Hour of delectable menu items, Antun’s sumptuous sit-down dinner, the Viennese table of incredible desserts, and the libations flowing all night from the open bar. At the Cocktail Hour in Antun’s Venetian Room, Roger Stone was seen meeting, greeting, and taking photos with his excited fans, and signing copies of his bestselling documentary of the Trump revolution, The Making of the President 2016.
Downstairs in the main banquet hall, the Palm Room, our illustrious master of ceremonies, J.C. Polanco kicked off the formal dinner ceremonies for the historic gala. The energy level exploded in the room as Club President Phil Orenstein welcomed everyone to the annual gathering of America’s oldest Republican Club, and marveled at the club’s tremendous growth.
Dr. Holmes, who delivered the opening keynote in place of Heritage President Kay Coles James, who couldn’t attend due to illness, quoted Ronald Reagan who said, “The great thing about America is we always come back.” He directed us to always uphold our constitutional legacy, and to keep up the fight, in the spirit of our founding fathers and George Washington who invoked God’s almighty care and protection, and that America is worth fighting for. Heritage associates were present distributing literature and signing people up for membership in The Heritage Foundation, America’s largest and most respected conservative think tank. Heritage is instrumental in forming policy for Republican administrations, especially the Trump administration, which has implemented and embraced two-thirds of its conservative agenda.
Frank Gaffney delivered an impassioned speech for the Abraham Lincoln Address. Dr. Holmes called him a bulwark against the left on the battleship to liberty. Mr. Gaffney is the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Ronald Reagan, and Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., one of our country’s foremost organizations actively defending our freedom and national security. Imagining that if Abe Lincoln were alive today, Gaffney said that he would perceive “our nation is once again in the midst of a civil war, albeit it an undeclared and, to date, largely non-violent one,” although this hasn’t dawned on most of us. The voters determine who is in power, and he said that “when you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.” The Mueller investigation, which is being conducted to remove President Trump from office and overturn the results of an election, are the actions of Democrats who “have rejected our system of government” and are fomenting a civil war. “The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own,” he asserted.
Invoking Abe Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, and the abolitionist platform which was the founding agenda of our Republican party, Gaffney brought to our attention the plight of the persecution, torture and murder of 215 million of Christians around the world today, as his new “Save the Persecuted Christians” banner was unfurled in front of the room. Similar to the campaign to liberate Soviet Jewry 50 years ago, which started with signs displayed outside of churches and synagogues, you can order a free banner online at SavethePersecutedChristians.org to display in front of your church or synagogue.
We had some extraordinary women present who were honored next. We have asked Ann Schockett for the past few years to be our Lincoln Dinner Honoree, but she has been busy crisscrossing the nation building the movement of Republican women, and now Ann is the 4th Vice President of the National Federation of Republican Women. As she received the Republican Woman of the Year Award, she said, “we are united in what we believe; our country stands for American dreams. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln and tens of thousands of American women ensure our country is strong and free for our loved ones. Talk the talk, walk the walk; we do both.”
Florence Maloney was next to be honored with the Harvey Moder Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is named after Harvey Moder, our beloved past president of the Queens Village Republican Club. She is receiving this award because of her lifetime of service to the educational community, the Catholic community, to the Republican and Conservative Parties, and to her country, as a teacher, a leader and an inspiration to all. Encouraging everyone to get involved, she said that our freedom in America is what it’s all about. “Do what you can; stand up” She implored. “We have a Right to Life President and Vice President, so get involved.“
David Bressler was the recipient of the Community Leader of the Year Award. In his acceptance speech he officially declared his candidacy for State Assembly in the 26th Assembly District in Northeastern Queens. He is the President of the Board of Managers of the Bay Club, and has been involved with the Board for over a decade. He also has been a Regional Manager for Bimbo Bakeries USA, selling Entenmann’s, Arnold and Thomas brands for 18 years. Many of his friends and supporters from his community were in attendance, to attest to his untiring spirit to work hard, long, selfless hours for others and to get the job done. He was inspired to run for political office when his good friend Ira Harris ran for State Assembly in Queens in 2016. He then determined to get elected to be the “Ted Cruz of the NYS Legislature,” and to drain that swamp. “I want to make State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D- Bayside, Whitestone) a private citizen,” he said.
The presentation of the “Future of America Awards” to three exemplary Young Republicans whose awesome energy, enthusiasm, and talent, that was highlighted by these awards, inspired everyone attending with great hope and promise for the future of America. Michael Conigliaro, the Managing Director of the Italian American Federation of Brooklyn and Queens, and mentor to one of the honorees, presented the prestigious awards, on behalf of the Queens Village Republican Club, to Nicole Weingartner, Chief of Staff of the New York State Young Republicans, Ryan Girdusky, President of the Middle Village Republican Club, and Michael Jannis, Legal Assistant at the law offices of Parola & Gross, LLP. All three started their careers in politics at a very young age; Ryan when he was 19, and Michael received an internship position at Congressman Peter King’s office when he was 14 years old. Nicole chairs and leads many political and civic organizations outside of the workplace. They all have grand dreams for the future. Michael’s is to become President of the United States.
The most moving part of the dinner program was the ceremonial presentation of the “Rabbi Morton Pomerantz Veteran of the Year Award” to World War II Veteran and decorated war hero, 1st LT Sampson Lester Friedman, U.S. Army Air Corps (Ret.). This award was named to preserve the memory of our club board member Rabbi Morton Pomerantz, who was a Marine Corp and Navy chaplain, and acclaimed advocate of Veterans and Republican causes. LT Friedman was accompanied by fellow World War II Veterans Lt. Col. John Peterkin and Jason Kaatz, Crew Engineer, UH1 Helicopter, who escorted Mr. Friedman up to the podium to the haunting musical strains of “Mansions of the Lord” performed by John Walters.
Congressman Lee Zeldin presented the Veterans awards on behalf of our club, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Certificate on behalf of District 1 Commander Marvin Jeffcoat. Jason Kaatz presented a special award on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans. LT Friedman then related his war experiences, saying that WWII was the most destructive war of all time. He spoke about his 25 combat missions over Japan as a B29 Bombardier, and his combat unit that secured victory for the United States of America and the Allied Forces. He imparted a piece of the story of our Greatest Generation’s legacy; and to always remember and honor our Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, who risk everything and even lay down their lives to defend our freedom. Everyone in the audience remained standing in solemn gratitude as these three humble WWII Veterans marched back to their seats in a slow procession to the accompaniment of Sousa marching music.
Our special guest speaker of the evening was Roger Stone, legendary political consultant, bestselling author, and senior advisor to President Trump. He related his up-close and personal story of the victory of President Trump against all odds, and the machinations of the political establishment to unseat him after he was elected. Although outspent by Clinton by a longshot, “Donald Trump quite simply outfoxed, outworked, outfought, and outhustled his opponent,” Stone said. Lawyers, lobbyists, and special interest groups resolved to impeach and unseat Trump in a witch hunt in which millions of tax dollars were spent, but have found no collusion with the Russians in the Trump campaign. It’s all a myth, BS, torrid, and fake news, he said. The fabricated dossier is the largest case of political espionage and makes Watergate look like small potatoes.
After the failure of the Mueller investigation, there will be further attempts to impeach Trump. But under Trump there have been two million plus new jobs, he has cut regulations to the bone, he has seated a Conservative Justice to Supreme Court, he overhauled and cut taxes, he’s using tariffs for better trade deals, since we’ve already been in a trade war for 30 years. Stone also applauded the selection of Larry Kudlow as Chief Economic Advisor, to work with Trump to help “turbo-charge this economy.”
Stone, who has a tattoo of President Nixon on his back about the size of a grapefruit, lauded Nixon, citing his foreign policies with Russia and China, defending Israel in 1973, launching the war against cancer and his dealings with trade unions. Stone concluded his talk with a Nixon quote: “A man isn’t finished when he’s defeated. He’s defeated only when he quits.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin, who delivered the closing keynote address, recalled that he was honored at our Lincoln Dinner nearly a decade ago, as a recently returning Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. That year, Lt. Col. Allen West was our keynote speaker, and he as well as everyone at that event was awed and inspired by West’s message and eloquence. From there Zeldin went on to exchange his military uniform for a business suit in order to serve his country on the political battlefield. He was elected to the State Senate, and then the US House of Representatives, where he serves today. He is a rising star in the Republican Party, he is the future of our Party, and offers great hope and promise for New York and America.
Zeldin said we have just come off of eight years of one of the worst presidents in our country’s history. Obama negotiated and made losing deals with Cuba and Iran. Now we have a president that treats friends as friends, adversaries as adversaries, making Jerusalem the Capitol of Israel, and ripping up the disastrous deal with Iran. You send military to win or you don’t send them at all. “For the first time in decades we’re on the world stage where we’re certainly not apologizing for American greatness,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin was there when Donald Trump took the Oath of Office last January. But he exclaimed that the most exciting part of the day was seeing the helicopter take off with the former president. He asked, “how good does it feel that President Obama is gone, that Hillary Clinton didn’t win, and Donald Trump is making America great again?”
Zeldin talked about Frank Padavan who was elected in Queens many times. He said there is a whole lot of red on the map and wonders how Cuomo got elected. Cuomo, whom he described as a vindictive and nasty bully, is running for President of the USA. He believes Republicans will win upstate—for Governor and Senate. The question is: How will we do in Queens? We need to take back our State and City starting right here. Zeldin thanked our Club for fighting for the Constitution, for supporting President Trump, and for working “to make America strong again, to make America safe again, and to make America great again!”
After Congressman Zeldin’s concluding remarks, the room went dark, and the Viennese tables, bursting with incredible desserts, lit a-fire with shooting sparklers, were wheeled in to the sound of patriotic music. It was a fitting conclusion to an uplifting celebration to gratify both the body and mind.
Kudos and congratulations goes to Dinner Chairman James Trent, all those on the Lincoln Dinner Committee (Ways and Means) and everyone who helped and worked so hard behind the scenes as a team, to put together this magnificent event, the wonderful Lincoln Dinner journal, the raffle baskets, selling tickets, making calls, working the registration table, and a whole lot more. It takes a whole lot of sweat and team effort to pull off this annual successful undertaking that smashes all previous records. Thank you and congratulations to our great Queens Village Republican Club team!