Long Island’s Republican House members, Lee Zeldin and Peter King, say President-elect Donald Trump may prove more moderate in the White House than his campaign rhetoric, particularly in order to push through infrastructure spending and other initiatives through Congress.
“He [Trump] seems like someone who will cut a deal to get something across the finish line,” said Zeldin, of Shirley, who won a second term Tuesday. He said a Trump presidency holds “a great potential for a lot of positive things to get done where everyone is working together” on measures like tax policy.
King, who also was re-elected Tuesday, said Trump “believes in the art of the deal. He’s not ideological.”
King, of Seaford, and Zeldin endorsed Trump in May after he was on his way to the GOP presidential nomination. Both at times were critical of Trump’s comments about women and other issues.
Both said they weren’t surprised that Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton on Long Island.
King recalled that as early as July 2015, while at a Little League game in Wantagh for his grandson, he was struck by the intensity for Trump. “People who were nonpolitical said ‘Trump says a lot of things I think and feel,’ ” King said. “I could see he was resonating [with voters].”
Zeldin said his moment of revelation about Trump’s appeal came in fall 2015 at a diner near Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.
“Many people there who don’t vote ... were talking about Trump in a way that was unique with added energy,” Zeldin said.
King said that to get things done as president, Trump will have to rely not only on GOP legislators but also Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the likely new Senate minority leader, to come up with workable compromises.
“He’s a New Yorker and he understands the need of Long Island,” King said of Trump.