RNC: Peter King frets about GOP hard-hat bashing

+ -

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

After listening to speakers on the first night of the Republican Convention, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he became a little uncomfortable about all the labor bashing, especially of the building trades.

"Last night, there were too many attacks on labor," King told Newsday. The convention, he said, "needs a change in tone . . . because any building trade guy, once he hears his union attacked, he's going to recoil."

King recalled that President Ronald Reagan was a leading presence in wooing the building trades — "hard hats for Reagan," they called themselves. And King said GOP speakers need to distinguish between unions.

King said vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan collected a lot of money from the building trade unions as an eight-term congressman from Wisconsin. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show Ryan collected $247,565 from labor PACs and $53 million from business PACs.

But it's King who has good reason to worry about the tone: over his long career dating back to the 1980s he has gotten $1 million from labor PACs (and $396,400 from the building trades unions) and $2.9 million from business PACs.

And the same day King expressed his concerns, on Wednesday, Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Contruction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement that began: "After reading their 2012 party platform, I can only conclude that the fundamental goals of the Republican Party are detrimental to the interests of our members."

McGarvey does later note his union is "pleased with the support from some members of the Republican Party . . ."

The best of Newsday everyday in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

You also may be interested in: