President Donald Trump’s visit to Suffolk County on Friday will be limited to law enforcement officials and will focus on drugs and gang violence, Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle told party members in an e-mail message Wednesday.
The president will speak at the 450-seat Van Nostrand Theater on the Brentwood campus of Suffolk County Community College.
LaValle, in an interview, said he sent out the email early Wednesday afternoon to warn them there would be no public event after being inundated with hundreds of phone, email and text requests in the last 24 hours from those who wanted to see the president. “It was like Elvis was coming,” he said.
While thanking party members “for your interest in President Trump’s visit,” LaValle email stated, “I just received word that the agenda for the president’s trip has changed. Unfortunately, there will not be a public event during this visit.”
Instead, the party leader said Trump will deliver “a speech . . . centered around combating gang violence and the heroin epidemic here on Long Island and across America.”
Noting that Trump visited Suffolk during his campaign and sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions here in the spring, LaValle praised the president for his attention to local concerns.
Justin Meyers, the Suffolk police spokesman, said “the Suffolk Police Department has been invited” to participate in the event, but could not say how many from the department will attend or whether Police Commissioner Tim Sini, the Democratic candidate for district attorney, will be among them.
“The president’s coming to town is an enormous operation for any police department and right now we are focused on the safety and security of the president and his folks,” said Meyers, as well as protecting any Trump supporters or protesters who might show up.
Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who local political officials have said is under consideration for a Trump appointment to the U. S. Marshal’s office in Manhattan, said he and the sheriff’s office have been invited to attend and he plans to participate.
LaValle said Sini is “absolutely on the guest list” and he expects both he and DeMarco to take part. “The president doesn’t care about politics. His concern is about the safety and well-being of our community,” LaValle said.