Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a raucous crowd of Suffolk Republicans Thursday evening that he would reverse Long Island’s job loss by negotiating better trade deals.
“Few regions in the country have been hurt worse than Suffolk. I don’t know why. It’s so beautiful,” Trump said at the County Republican Committee fundraiser in Patchogue. He started to tick off manufacturing job loss numbers for Long Island before saying he couldn’t go on. “It’s too depressing. I want you to leave happy.”
More than 1,000 people packed into The Emporium, a nightclub and music venue, for the $150-per-person fundraiser. The party also offered pay-per-view online for $5.99 for the 20-minute speech.
The crowd interrupted Trump with shouts of “Build the wall!” and “Lyin’ Ted” a number of times.
Trump did not address calls for him to move his venue, which is near where Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was murdered in 2008.
More than 120 people gathered Thursday afternoon at a vigil near where Lucero was killed. His brother, Joselo Lucero, accused Trump of using his influence and wealth to denigrate others.
“He uses the rhetoric against immigrants, he uses hate speech, he uses his power to humiliate women,” Lucero said, his voice rising. “Why? We allow him to do that.”
Suffolk County chairman John Jay LaValle has said the venue was booked two months ago and all the Republican candidates were invited. When LaValle introduced Trump, he said, “We are proud to stand behind Donald Trump.” He predicted Suffolk would give Trump his largest margin of victory in Tuesday’s primary.
Doors opened at 3 p.m. as a long line of attendees stretched around the corner, waiting behind metal barricades amid tight security.
While the national political establishment has fretted about the potential negative effects of a Trump nomination — including on his ability to win Hispanic voters in a general election — much of Long Island’s Republican establishment has embraced him. Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello endorsed Trump in March. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and LaValle endorsed him at a Trump rally in Bethpage last week.
The fundraiser on Thursday was dotted with county and town Republican leaders, including County Clerk Judith Pascale and Babylon Republican Chairman Anthony Pancella.
“Voters are telling my committee people when they’re knocking on doors, don’t screw Trump,” said Brookhaven Republican Chairman Jesse Garcia, who has also endorsed Trump.
Trump was scheduled for a black tie New York State Republican Party fundraiser in Manhattan immediately after the Patchogue event. He told the audience, “People who know me best are here and from New York State.”
With Deon J. Hampton, David Olson and Tania Lopez