Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, landed his helicopter in Nissequogue and flew back with a heavier campaign war chest after a cocktail party fundraiser Thursday night.
His appearance in Nissequogue created a frenzy for beachgoers at Long Beach Town Park, where his helicopter landed, and for neighbors of Carolyn and Steve Louro, the Nissequogue couple who hosted the event.
Trump’s black chopper, his last name emblazoned on the side, landed after 6 p.m. Thursday; he waved to a boisterous crowd and headed to the fundraiser in a motorcade. Many of his cheering fans wore bathing suits after a day spent on the beach.
Trump’s visit lasted about an hour.
Several hundred people were to attend the $5,000-per-person cocktail party, and Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle said earlier in the week the campaign expected to raise more than $1 million.
Supporters of the billionaire developer stood behind yellow tape in the beach parking lot to witness Trump land and take off. They came with signs and hats bearing Trump’s name and catchphrases.
A group of women embraced each other after Trump flew away. “I really hope he doesn’t lose,” one said.
Andrea Giordano, 56, of St. James, wearing a white cap that read “Make America Great Again,” came to catch a glimpse of Trump.
“I love his candor and his honesty and his no-nonsense attitude,” Giordano said. “I believe he’s starting a new America.”
Though Trump has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats nationwide over his remarks against the Muslim parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq, some Suffolk supporters had his back.
The aunt of an Army veteran, Giordano said she was “not at all” concerned about those remarks.
Another supporter, Shirley Dabalsky of St. James, a tennis teacher, brought her 17-year-old daughter.
“He says it like it is. Straight talk,” Dabalsky said.
Cars from Nissequogue Village and the Town of Smithtown were parked on the block where the Louros lived. A Trump Pence lawn sign was placed in front of the gated mansion.
Louro is chief executive of Professional Group Plans, a Hauppauge employee benefits firm that sells more than $2.8 billion in premiums per year. The Louros could not be reached for comment.
LaValle said earlier this week that the fundraiser stood out because it was not in the Hamptons. “It’s not summer money, this is hard-core local money, real straight local money coming into the campaign,” LaValle said.
Among the 200 contributors expected at the event were State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport), and Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), LaValle said earlier in the week.