Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday took a swipe at the Long Island Rail Road, comparing the train system to a Third World country’s at a Staten Island Republican fundraiser.
He said, meanwhile, the U.S. has “rebuilt China” through unfair trade deals.
“They have bridges going up. They have railroads like you’ve never seen. We have the old Long Island Rail Road — chug, chug, chug, chug,” he said. “It’s like we’re a Third World country, folks. They have trains that go 250 miles an hour. We have old stuff.”
Trump also continued to hammer at the delegate selection process, calling the system “rigged” and “crooked.”
He made his comments about infrastructure to a packed room at the Staten Island GOP’s annual brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn ahead of Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary.
Trump pointed audience members to a Wall Street Journal article Sunday in which Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei called Trump an “irrational type” and said a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods would violate World Trade Organization rules.
Trump has said in the past that the U.S. imbalance on global trade has fueled China’s growth. That statement was rated half true by the nonpartisan group PolitiFact.
A Long Island Rail Road spokesperson declined to comment.
Trump, in a news conference before the brunch address, also criticized the delegate selection process, though he said the rules were unlikely to be fixed this year.
He said in Syracuse on Saturday that the Republican National Committee would face a “rough July” at the presidential nominating convention if it didn’t change the delegate system. But on Sunday he hedged and said the Republican Party should change its system in the future.
Trump has gotten more votes than any other Republican and said supporters would be unhappy if there was a brokered convention that resulted in someone else as a nominee.
Asked if he thought there would be violence, he said, “I hope it doesn’t involve violence and I don’t think it will. But I will say this: It’s a rigged system, it’s a crooked system.” He said he could put delegates up in resorts to secure their support in a brokered convention, but chooses not to.
He said he had more votes than other Republicans and would have had more than Democrat Hillary Clinton if there weren’t 17 Republicans competing early on in the primary season.
He would not rule out supporting another candidate who got the nomination, though.
“I have to see how it’s handled and have to see what level of fairness” there is, he said.
Ken Cuccinelli, GOP presidential contender U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s delegate director, slammed Trump’s failure to pick up delegates in Saturday’s Wyoming Republican convention.
“He didn’t even bother to compete,” Cuccinelli said on ABC. “Trump didn’t just lose in Wyoming, he got stomped. And the same was true in Colorado: 65,000 people participated in Colorado. And Ted Cruz swept that election. And he did it with his vision for economic growth, to make this country secure finally and also to expand freedom.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, responding to Trump’s remark about the RNC having a “rough July,” said there is “no room for threatening the delegates or the convention or anybody.”
“But I also think some of this is rhetoric and hyperbole,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
One of Trump’s presidential rivals, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said the nominating process is just “the way it works” and he had this message for Trump: act “like you’re a professional. Be a pro,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Trump is hovering near 50 percent support among Republican voters, according to recent polls, which would award him all of New York’s statewide delegates. Delegates also are awarded to candidates based on the vote in congressional districts.
At the Staten Island event Sunday, a protesters held signs outside the rally. The speech to the Richmond County Republican Party was interrupted once by a heckler. John McBeth of Staten Island was escorted out by police. He said he shouted, “Staten Islanders don’t want hate on Staten Island” before the raucous crowd drowned him out with shouts.
Donald Pagano, 54, an electrical contractor, said he liked that Trump “won’t be beholden to anyone” because of his wealth. He said the collusive practices among Democrats and Republicans “make the mob look innocent.”
— With wire services