Former President Donald Trump's post about Mike Sapraicone on Truth...

Former President Donald Trump's post about Mike Sapraicone on Truth Social, his social media platform.

Daily Point

Mike Sapraicone gets Trump's nod to run against Gillibrand

Just as the movement to deny Mike Sapraicone the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate was getting some momentum on the charge that he wasn’t a loyal enough supporter of Donald Trump, the former president stunned everyone in New York politics this weekend by stepping into the fray and endorsing the former NYPD detective and private security firm founder.

Trump posted his endorsement of Glen Head’s Sapraicone on his social media account Saturday at 9:56 p.m.:

"Mike is a strong and successful person, and I look forward to working with him to take New York State away from the people who have destroyed it with hundreds of thousands of Migrants flowing in, and ruining our Schools, Hospitals, Parks, and increasing Crime many fold. Good luck to Mike - He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Trump attached his endorsement to a Sapraicone statement issued last week, pledging his fealty to Trump, noting that both of them were born in the same Queens hospital and chatted while in adjoining boxes at a Mets game. On Sunday, Sapraicone was penning a thank you note to be passed along to Trump by intermediaries.

Neither Sapriacone, nor New York State Republican Party chairman Ed Cox, who pushed for his candidacy, nor Nassau GOP chairman Joe Cairo, who was agitating to have Sapraicone step aside, nor ex-Rep. Peter King, who had taken the lead last week on trying to pressure him to get out, seemed to have any idea that Trump would weigh in on the dispute.

“I was surprised as anyone can be about Trump,” said King. He said the Nassau party was worried that the exact opposite was going to happen, that Trump was going to lambaste Sapraicone for having made a $1,000 donation to NY Attorney General Tish James.

The fear, he said, was that Trump would be angry about the James contribution and seek to discredit Sapraicone which could have resulted in Trump’s MAGA supporters not going any further down the November ballot, thus undermining the House races in New York.

Alternatively, King said, he and others worried that a Trump-endorsed senate candidate would run a primary against Sapraicone, and his supporters would vote against the party’s Assembly and State Senate candidates.

“Now, it’s over,” said King, about the effort to stop Sapraicone.

Not so fast, says Josh Eisen, an upstate businessman supported by former Gov. George Pataki. Eisen, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2020, is moving forward with his petition drive to get on the GOP primary ballot this June.

“The risk of nobody facing him in the primary is too consequential,” said Eisen, while admitting Trump’s support was a “big challenge” to winning the GOP nomination. Celebrity boxer Cara Castronuova, who ran for Assembly in 2022, is also expected to mount a petition drive to get on the U.S. Senate primary ballot.

Eisen said the pitch that he and other Sapraicone opponents would make to Trump is that if he wants to win his once-home state this fall, he needs strong support from African American voters. “How is Trump going to have a rally in the Bronx when his senate candidate is a poster child for police brutality?” said Eisen, making it clear he will pull no punches against Sapraicone. As an NYPD detective, Sapriacone was sued for obtaining a false confession and suppressing evidence, a case New York City settled for $3.3 million. Eisen thinks Trump could change his mind and withdraw his support, a view that was echoed across some conservative radio shows on Monday.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, who’s up, who’s down. Let’s see how it all shakes out,” he said.

— Rita Ciolli rita.ciolli@newsday.com

Pencil Point

The clincher

Credit: CagleCartoons.com/Gary McCoy

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Quick Points

'Bad' precedent

  • With a powerful blizzard hammering California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, closing parts of highways, like the Donner Pass, the National Weather Service said, “It's certainly just about as bad as it gets.” Given that the Donner Pass is where a 19th century pioneer group got stranded one winter and resorted to cannibalism to survive, not sure this storm has met that bar yet.
  • A senior U.S. administration official said that Israel has “more or less” accepted a cease-fire proposal in the conflict with Hamas. Surely, the Biden administration knows that when it comes to the Israelis and a cease-fire, there is a huge difference between “more” and “less.”
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that neither Russia nor Ukraine will be able to “achieve victory as defined in the most idealistic terms” in their two-year-old war. Not exactly a bold prediction, since neither side seems to think that's possible, either.
  • In an interview over the weekend, Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley said, “I'm not anti-Trump.” Wonder what her campaign speeches would sound like if she was.
  • Asked whether it is important that the successor to Mitch McConnell as leader of the Senate Republicans be “willing to stand up to Trump,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) said, “Well, that’s what I’m looking for in a leader.” Sounds like a Diogenes-type search.

— Michael Dobie michael.dobie@newsday.com

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