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Pro-Trump flotilla sails up the Hudson River

Dozens of watercraft on Sunday sailed past the Statue of Liberty, heading up the Hudson River as a show of support for President Donald Trump to back his presidency and reelection. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A pro-Donald Trump flotilla Sunday sailed past the Statue of Liberty, bound for the George Washington Bridge — the latest boat parade held in various states to back the incumbent's presidency and reelection.

Dozens of watercraft — mostly pleasure boats but a few yachts — headed up the Hudson River just before noon, some with Trump flags and other signs of support.

“Team Deplorable,” read the bow of the 63-foot Bertram Sportfish yacht that organizer Andrew Novak, 32, of Seaford Harbor, was aboard — a dig at Hillary Clinton, who said in 2016 that half of Trump’s supporters could be put in a “basket of deplorables.”

Speaking late last week, Novak said of Trump: “A lot of people are putting him down. He’s doing a lot of great things for America. The list can go on and on.”

Pro-Trump flotillas totaling from dozens to hundreds of vessels have taken to the waters recently, including off Long Island; in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey; Lake Erie, Ohio; Biloxi, Mississippi; Salisbury, North Carolina; Lake Keowee, South Carolina; Lake Macatawa, Michigan; Orange Beach, Alabama; the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania; and the Indian and Banana rivers across Brevard County, Florida, according to press accounts.

“You see the boaters out. There are thousands and thousands of boats every weekend, and we appreciate it, but nobody has seen anything like it ever. And we have that in many other states with boaters and bikers and everybody,” Trump said earlier this month in Florida, according to The Washington Post.

The Daily Beast reported Thursday: “He has delighted in advisers showing him boater photos and videos that have bubbled up on social media. And during strategy sessions in the past two months, he’s told officials to keep bringing him more and to push out the content on their own accounts, as well.”

“NO BOAT PARADES: ENTHUSIASM FOR JOE BIDEN IS SINKING,” read a campaign web posting July 17.

An opinion poll from ABC News/Washington Post poll out Sunday shows the president 15 percentage points behind Biden among registered voters, 55% to 40%, though nearly every poll was wrong in 2016 and favored Clinton.

On Sunday, Trump supporter Richelli Castellano of Oyster Bay Cove, watching the procession from Battery Park City with her husband and three children, 17, 16 and 14, said that Americans like her represent the “silent majority.”

“I’m just the type of person who’d rather support silently than be part of an angry crowd. And I’m doing that because of my kids. I’m just trying to protect my kids. People may call me a coward and all that stuff,” she said, adding: “I think I can still support the administration’s policies, all of that stuff, you know, by being quiet and doing my work quietly, silently.”

Wearing a face mask, Castellano said Trump’s stances are close to hers — including on restricting immigration ("I'm talking about, I don't know, like, the drug dealers that are trying to come through our borders, those type of people."); curbing abortion; and a less restrictive interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms — but she disapproves of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic ("I really think he could have taken a better approach in restricting the spread of this virus.").

She lamented that she couldn’t take part Sunday and bring their boats — a sailboat and a motor boat — because the family had to go to the city to visit her mom uptown in Gramercy.

“I’m part of the boating community in Long Island, and this is something that we do. It’s part of our lifestyle,” said Castellano, a photographer and retired banker. But next week, she said, the family plans to partake in a pro-Trump boat parade to muster on Long Island’s North Shore.

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