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Donald Trump and Millennials: Why the presidential candidate appeals to young people

For many young Donald Trump supporters, his willingness to speak his mind is a sign of good leadership.

From immigration reform to making better trade deals, Trump has voiced his opinion on many American policies in what often seems like reactionary commentary.

“He’s saying what’s on his mind, he’s not afraid to not be [politically correct], and that’s a quality of a strong leader,” said Avrahom Rosenberg a 25-year-old social worker from Midwood who plans to vote for Trump.

And Trump has been this way since before many of his younger supporters were born.

In his book, “The Art of the Deal,” published in 1987, Trump attributed some of his success to playing it loose and relying on his own instincts when making tough decisions.

With New York’s primary just a few weeks away, amNewYork interviewed several young Trump supporters to hear why they stand behind him — and what they think of another millennial favorite, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Rafael Perez, 32

Rafael Perez, 32, a safety training supervisor from
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rafael Perez

Rafael Perez, 32, a safety training supervisor from Washington Heights, said Trump's stance on immigration and free trade are especially important to him. Perez said illegal immigration has made it hard for him to consistently find work.

On Trump: "He has a New York attitude, I love it. People are too sensitive, people want to be politically correct too much, we can't run a country like that ... I was a registered Democrat but I switched my party this year because of Trump ... We've got to get rid of the system we have."

On illegal immigration: "I experienced first hand that it's hard to get a job because there are a lot of undocumented workers working in construction and that only lowers the wages for people with papers to work in the U.S."

On free trade: "[Free trade] is driving down working wages in the U.S. and it's sending a lot of our jobs overseas, it's not right."

On building a wall between Mexico and the United States: "I think he wants to build a wall to help keeps drugs out ... and it's going to keep people from coming in illegally ... where there's crime there has to be police, that's the way it's supposed to be."

On abortion: "Honestly, I think he's pro-choice. I think he's just using that because he's running as a Republican."

On Bernie Sanders: "I like Bernie Sanders, but he doesn't attack Hillary on her stuff. She's very controversial, she's done a lot of things that should have eliminated her from running for president ... and Bernie's not attacking her on that and he's lying about Trump too for using the race card."

Ike Royzengurt, 21

Ike Royzengurt, 21, a student at Brooklyn College
Photo Credit: Jason Shaltiel

Ike Royzengurt, 21, a student at Brooklyn College from Coney Island, believes that Trump will not follow through on several of his controversial policies, such as deporting every person living here illegally. Royzengurt, who is a member of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, said Trump made that statement, along with many others, to either highlight a problem or generate buzz in the media.

On Trump: "[His never being in office] is what draws people to him because people don't want the political class ... People just have this view of him that he's this crazy bumbling mad man who is going to on a world stage ruin relations with every single other country ... and that's not representative of how he will carry himself."

On abortion: "[Ted Cruz and Trump] are both just fighting over evangelicals and they're both just fighting for these religious groups ... he said it to reach out to voters ... It's purposeful, he's a master of his craft, he knows the way elections go, he knows how to get media attention, but that's not representative of how he's going to act in office."

On deportation: "He said himself that it's not practical ... millions of people are not going to be deported, some people [that committed crimes] definitely will and there's nothing wrong with that."

On the wall: "It's a very physical image that people can understand, but the wall is not at the forefront of his immigration reform. It may look like that, but it's actually on the back end."

Alan Kamenezky, 22

Alan Kamenezky, 22, a student at Brooklyn College
Photo Credit: Jason Shaltiel

Alan Kamenezky, 22, a student at Brooklyn College from Brighton Beach, believes that Donald Trump's campaign has encouraged more people to follow the presidential election compared to previous years. Kamenezky, who is also and a member of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, said Trump's rhetoric can quell political correctness and encourage political discourse among people with different views.

On Trump: "It's really this idea that he is challenging the way people are thinking right now. He's bringing to light some things that people want to steer clear of and he's exposing them straight up."

On deporation: "I don't think he's going to do it. It's just something he says to get votes here and there, but all he's doing is reassuring the American citizens, the middle class and the people out in the midwest ... that he's thinking about them too."

On the wall: "The wall is a slogan he's using. Essentially he's saying we're going to build something that is more serious for the people coming in from these different countries with visas and staying here. He wants to say something that resonates."

On abortion: "I'm sure he's reaching out to some kind of votes. He lost some states to Ted Cruz recently, so now he became bigger on abortion ... I don't even think he wanted to say it."

On Bernie Sanders: "It's not that I don't like Bernie. I actually do, and I wish we could have someone like that on social welfare. I just don't think it's plausible, and Donald Trump himself actually does have some of those social welfare policies, including universal health[care]."

Colton Hillman, 18

Colton Hillman, 18, a finance student at Fordham
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Colton Hillman

Colton Hillman, 18, a finance student at Fordham University, said that because Donald Trump is an outsider to politics and has experience in making deals he would be well suited with reaching across both aisles to get things done.

On Trump: "He's the only one of the candidates right now who gets on stage and says what he believes ... He doesn't have strings attached with his promises and positions and I love that about him ... If it wasn't for him there wouldn't be so much attention to the process ... he's getting people talking."

On immigration: "The system right now works unfavorably for the people who want to get into the country legally ... It's not fair to them that those people [who came in illegally] had priority over them ... Deporting is effective in a perfect world if it were done humanely and fairly."

On abortion: "In the interview he stumbled a bit but there is some validity that if new laws are put in place there should be laws to punish the doctor ... If abortion is legal and a woman gets an abortion you can't punish them."

On trade: "A lot of people at his rallies are people who work in manufacturing and work in factories and people who have really been hurt by trade policies that have taken jobs out of the country ... When you have people negotiating the [Trans Pacific Partnership] it's not open dialogue, it's closed door meetings between congressmen and corporations, and Trump knows that's not right."

On Bernie Sanders: "A lot of the things Bernie says are truly unrealistic ... I've seen first hand that some of the things Bernie talks about like high taxes really kills an area."

Avrahom Rosenberg, 25

Avrahom Rosenberg, 25, a social worker from Midwood,
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Avrahom Rosenberg

Avrahom Rosenberg, 25, a social worker from Midwood, said Trump is not his ideal candidate, but he is the lesser of evils among all the other candidates.

On Trump: "Donald Trump is more of a moderate. He's not exactly a political insider, and ... is not my ideal candidate ... It's more that I don't like the other candidates. That's why I'm voting for Trump ... He's saying what's on his mind, he's not afraid to not be [politically correct], and that's a quality of a strong leader."

On immigration: "I don't fully agree with his opinions ... I agree that there should be more screenings ... to say that all Muslims should be banned is hard for me. Islam is a religion, there's different measures ... and radical Islam is a growing problem but everyone shouldn't suffer because of that ... I feel like if he was a racist, he's been in the public spotlight for so many years and something would have popped up earlier, but it is a problem to make a statement like that and you should take those things with a grain of salt."

On the wall: "Building a wall is a good concept ... People who come over the border to sneak in, get to live in America and there are people trying to get in legally and don't get in, and it's not fair."


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