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A few hours with Trump
As international celebrities and politicians make their way past the police barricades at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, Long Island is also represented.
Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney accompanied her father, Rep. Peter King, to the Trump offices on Thursday.
She had met Donald Trump once before, at a fundraiser in August in Nissequogue. “He’s not like the personality you see on TV,” Sweeney told The Point. “In person, he’s so calm, so relaxed — and nice, actually.”
The invitation to the Kings — along with Suffolk County GOP chairman John Jay LaValle, who served as a Trump surrogate during the campaign — has the flavor of the national “thank you” tour that Trump wrapped up this past weekend. He’s not forgetting the people who helped get him elected. Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello has been named to Trump’s transition team.
On Thursday, after walking past a reception desk, Sweeney realized she was standing a foot away from Vice President-elect Mike Pence. In one conference room, people were working on treasury issues. In another conference room, dedicated to national security, were Trump’s national security adviser appointee, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and his CIA director nominee, Mike Pompeo. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway walked by.
Sweeney seemed a little awe-struck. Sitting next to Pompeo, she mused, “It’s hard to imagine the burdens he’s now shouldering.”
Her trip back down the elevator, and out toward Fifth Avenue, brought her back down to earth. There, in the lobby, Sweeney said, the Naked Cowboy had stepped inside to warm up on a day with temperatures in the high 20s.
The ghost of 2016 past
The 2017 New York City mayoral election is shaping up to have some of the story lines of 2016.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is tending his liberal base: On Sunday, seven progressive members of the City Council endorsed the incumbent.
Their endorsements, though early, were not particularly surprising. The members aren’t term-limited and would have to work with the next mayor, so siding with the progressive front-runner makes sense. Some have already participated in fundraisers for the mayor.
But they were a convenient foil to Sunday’s other 2017 news, with State Sen. Tony Avella announcing his challenge to de Blasio in Maspeth, Queens, at the site of a Holiday Inn Express that de Blasio had attempted to turn into a homeless shelter over community opposition. Protests there have sometimes taken on a racially charged tone.
Avella portrayed himself as the outsider fed up with government, channeling the white outer-borough frustration with the mayor that, on a national level, mimics some of the forces propelling Donald Trump.
The city, of course, will be far friendlier to the liberal establishment than the nation. Avella is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany, which has caucused with Republicans and stolen control from mainline Democrats — a potential liability with city voters.
There’s also an unlikely scenario in which 2016 factors even more strongly into 2017. Don Peebles, the real estate developer who has been making noise about a mayoral run, meets on Monday with President-elect Trump.
Grim Reaper’s new weapon
-- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the new Second Avenue subway will open on Jan. 1, and he has invited NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to join him on an inaugural ride. Any bets on whether Cuomo manspreads him out of a seat?
-- On Donald Trump’s last victory-tour stop in Alabama, he told supporters, “We are really the people who love this country.” That’ll help bring America together.
-- Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she regrets meeting Bill Clinton on the tarmac of a Phoenix airport in June. You don’t say.
-- Sen. John McCain is convinced Donald Trump eventually will criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that “reality is going to intercede at one point or another.” That’s the essence of faith: You believe despite a lack of proof.
-- Polling shows that 55 percent of Americans are “concerned” about the possibility that the Russians tried to influence the presidential election. The other 45 percent apparently were unaware there was a presidential election.
-- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says Donald Trump “operates by a kind of instinct that is a different form of analysis as my more academic one.” Oh, that Henry, always given to droll understatement.