Borough GOP leaders talk victory in a Democratic party stronghold
Not a lot of high-profile Queens Republicans backed the Republican from Queens for president at first, and it took a while for some to get on board with Donald Trump.
But they appear as pleased as much of the country is astounded at Trump’s triumph over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on election night.
“I think it’s a stunning upset,” Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner told the Chronicle. “It seemed to be Trump against the Democratic Party, the press and, to a degree, his own party. And on his side were the people.”
Turner, that rare species of former GOP congressman from Queens, at first supported former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then others, but was convinced after Trump took the Queens vote in the primary. Phil Orenstein, president of the Queens Village Republican Club initially preferred Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker while Joe Concannon, a former and likely future GOP City Council candidate, said he thought former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had the muscle and the machine to secure the nomination.
“And, quite frankly, the money,” he said. “But Trump played the campaign expertly.”
Orenstein said the positions Trump has been staking out since the election reflect what he considers to be conservative values.
“I’m very, very pleased with the result,” he said. And he is not concerned over accusations that the president-elect’s positions on major issues has been fluid during the campaign.
He also hopes that some of the more heated rhetoric aimed at Trump — and Secretary Clinton — will be eliminated or at least scaled back.
Concannon also believes that Trump’s actions as president will speak loudly to both his critics or people who just are uncertain about how they will fare under his presidency.
“I think people will be very surprised after all the demagoguery from both candidates,” he said. “The man has a huge heart. He cares about people, and that’s not what you are hearing from places like Fifth Avenue now.”
Concannon also believes Trump is in a unique position to put his own stamp on the presidency.
“He has overcome incredible odds,” Concannon said. “But now Donald Trump goes in owing nobody anything. He wrote his own checks pretty much until after the primary season. I think that puts him into a unique position.”