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“Kindred Spirits”: Trump Lies So Much Less To NY Mega-Rich

The crowd outside stretched far across 42nd Street, and police lined the sidewalk as if preparing for an invasion. The protesters called him a racist and held signs that read BEAT UP TRUMP and NO FUCKING FASCIST! Dozens of them were arrested.

But inside the Grand Hyatt hotel, the man they were raging against was hard to find.

In the ballroom, its ceiling opulently outfitted with copper-colored glass, the New York Republican Party was holding its annual gala, and Donald Trump, the first of the three presidential candidates to speak, was on his best behavior.

Maybe it was the tux.

“You know, I thought I’d do something a little different,” Trump began.

As the audience of 800 drank wine and picked at their salads, which had cost them each $1,000 and required that they go through metal detectors in their gowns and dinner jackets, Trump opted out of his usual stump speech—a haphazard string of insults, poll numbers, and tirades against the media—and instead talked for 23 minutes about the New York City he helped shape.

“I love speaking at the Grand Hyatt,” he said, “because I built it.”

Forty-second and Lex was once home to the Commodore Hotel, which opened in 1919 and had, by 1976, seen better, more profitable days.

“It was a mess,” Trump told the crowd. “They had a spa called ‘Relaxation Plus,’ but nobody ever got into what the ‘plus’ meant.”

Trump bought the property and transformed it into a shiny glass behemoth—his first of many such structures in this city. (He was bought out of the building in 1996).

At another point, Trump reminisced about buying a building downtown in the throes of “the depression—literally a depression” in the early 1990s (there was no economic depression in the 1990s). “When I opened, it was like the world had changed,” he said.

Private construction is not the first topic that comes to mind when you imagine a presidential candidate’s speech. But for Trump, his buildings are evidence that he can get things done, and the context doesn’t much matter. In order to achieve success, in Trump’s view, you need to be able to measure it in stories.

Which is not to say that he shied away from politics completely.

Trump enjoys 65 percent favorability in New York, according to a Public Policy Polling poll released April 12, and a 31.9 percent lead on John Kasich—53.8 to 21.9—in the Real Clear Politics average.

The audience at the Hyatt laughed with Trump and applauded for him, but they also just seemed to understand who he is. And he understands them, which seems like the best explanation for why he did away with his usual shtick and talked to them as equals.

At one point, he did mock poor Jeb Bush, who isn’t even a candidate anymore, by saying he should move to New York City to improve his low energy, but the schoolboy humor was kept to a minimum.

Later, Trump spent some time discussing “New York values,” that unfortunate phrase Ted Cruz, his central rival for the nomination, chose to deploy as an insult against him a few months back.

“I want to just talk, just for a second, about New York values,” Trump said.

The crowd cheered.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said.

But he didn’t need to remind the audience to dislike Cruz.

When the Texas senator arrived onstage in a tux with a lopsided bow tie, some people just left.

Others talked loudly over him and clanked their silverware as they ate their entrees.

A few stared down at their phones.

“I will admit to you,” he said, “I haven’t built any buildings in New York City.”

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, April 15, 2016

April 18, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, New York Primaries, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Cruz Wants The Mantle Of Camelot”: Why Do Conservatives Keep Talking About John F. Kennedy?

A day before Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas got an earful of Bronx jeers for his rightwing views on immigration and “New York values,” he summoned up the ghost of liberal icon John F. Kennedy to signal that his was a lofty, aspirational campaign not unlike one mounted by the youthful candidate for president way back in 1960.

“The American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack,” Cruz said, quoting JFK during his acceptance speech in Wisconsin, where he had trounced his main primary rival, front-runner Donald Trump. “We are not here to curse the darkness but to light a candle that can guide us from darkness to a safe and sane future.”

Cruz, who has slowed the potty-mouthed Trump’s momentum towards the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland this summer, has pulled out other high minded phrases from the fallen crown prince of Camelot (and also from Winston Churchill) while on the stump.

In Massachusetts, the nation’s bluest state, he contended that Kennedy was “one of the most powerful and eloquent defenders of tax cuts.” He even contended: “JFK would be a Republican today. There is no room for John F. Kennedy in the modern Democratic Party.”

Unremarkably, Cruz’s commentary elicited angry blowback from Democrats, notably Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, JFK’s Grandson, who labeled the senator’s rhetoric “absurd” in an article for Politico Magazine in January. Schlossberg also denied Cruz’s assertion that Kennedy, who would be 98 years old if he were alive today, supported limited government.

“(Kennedy) created new federal programs with ambitious goals, such as the Peace Corps,” Schlossberg wrote from Tokyo. “He did not spend his years in the House and Senate devoted to obstructing the opposition. He certainly did not lead an effort, as Cruz did, to shut down the federal government to score political points and deny health insurance to millions.”

Cruz, of course, is hardly the first Republican to invoke JFK’s name, image and age on the campaign trail. As noted by many a political junkie, Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana, George H.W. Bush’s pick for vice president in 1988, spoke of Kennedy when defending his inexperience during a debate with Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentson, his much older Democratic counterpart and running mate of unsuccessful presidential hopeful Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

Bentson famously put down Quayle with scathing disdain: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.”

These days, Michael R. Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York since 1988, which was founded in 1962 with support from conservative icon William F. Buckley, doesn’t believe that Cruz’s praise of JFK is a deviation from conservative orthodoxy. “There’s no problem with Cruz (invoking) JFK,” he told The National Memo in a telephone conversation. “Reagan invoked JFK on tax cuts,” added Long, who also noted that Kennedy’s legacy crosses party lines: “He was an inspirational person who brought a lot of hope to a lot of Americans. Probably some conservatives voted for him because of his love of America.”

It appears that Cruz’s use of Democratic imagery is his attempt to sell what is otherwise a far-right candidacy to voters from both parties as well as independents. Last summer, Cruz told PBS host Tavis Smiley that his campaign was “modeled” after President Obama’s successful 2008 primary campaign with its emphasis on social media. Others don’t quite agree with that assessment

“While Cruz may hope to attract Democratic votes, I can’t think that’s his primary motivation,” said David Birdsell, Ph.D., Dean of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs in an email to this reporter. “Kennedy was known as a great speaker, Cruz fancies himself a great speaker too. Kennedy was the youngest person elected to the presidency, Cruz is only two years older than Kennedy was. Cruz wants the mantle of Camelot, but the garment doesn’t fit well and he suffers in the comparison.”

Birdsell, who believes Canada’s Justin Trudeau is far more “genuinely Kennedy-esque” than Cruz or Quayle, does regard the Texas senator as a political pro who has recognized the quality of Obama’s field operation. “He obviously loathes Obama but has the perspicacity to know there was something to learn from his campaign. That reflects well on Cruz, and the quality of his own field operation is the single most important reason he’s in second place. Lesson learned.”

Cruz, however, hit a roadblock in the Bronx this week for his hardline views on immigration and had to cancel a meeting at a charter school after students threatened a walkout. State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., a conservative Democrat who is also a pastor at a Bronx pentacostal church, hosted a sparsely attended event for him at Chinese-Dominican restaurant in Parkchester that also drew a few shouting local protestors.

Diaz, whose more liberal son Ruben Diaz, Jr. is the Bronx borough president and labels Cruz a hypocrite, said that he may also “do something” in the Bronx for Donald Trump, whose views are similarly loathed by many in the hispanic community.

“We’ve got to do something about the 12 million undocumented immigrants,” said the elder Diaz. “I want to build a wall to make America great again,” he added with a laugh, echoing Trump.

Trump, meanwhile, has put himself in the same league as Ronald Reagan on the issues, while his admirers have invoked Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson to describe his bellicose bloviating.

As for Trump’s purported allegiance to Reagan’s policies, Michael Long of the Conservative Party dismisses that notion. “He doesn’t come close to Ronald Reagan. He’s more like a populist candidate. Trump has brought a different style to this campaign that’s different from anything I’ve witnessed in my entire life.”

 

By: Mary Reinholz, The National Memo, April 11, 2016

April 12, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, John F. Kennedy, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Flag Remains A Point Of Tension”: Confederate Cavalry Robocalls For Cruz

South Carolina has a solid track record of picking the GOP presidential nominee. But if one conservative group has any say in it, the nation’s first Southern primary won’t be a cakewalk for Donald Trump.

According to the Post and Courier, a last minute robocall released by pro-Ted Cruz forces paints the New York real estate titan as a carpetbagger who does not understand their way of life. Trump currently boasts a sizeable lead in nearly every poll and is expected to trounce his opponents in the Palmetto State primary on Saturday, but candidates like Cruz can still hope to narrow the gap.

Courageous Conservative Political Action Committee released a pre-recorded message that all but accuses Trump of attempting to burn through Dixie like General William Tecumseh Sherman. Alluding to the 2015 fight that brought down the Confederate flag, the caller says, “People like Donald Trump are always butting their noses into other people’s business.”

“People like Trump,” of course meaning people with “New York values” who won’t fight for the brand social conservatism one might find in places like Rock Hill or Bethune. The downing of the Confederate flag remains a point of tension for many who believe it embodies their heritage and who reject the notion that it has racial implications.

“Trump talks about our flag like it’s a social disease,” the voice goes on to say.

Pollsters at fivethirtyeight.com give Trump a 78 percent chance of winning. Cruz comes in at a measly 10 percent and—after winning the Iowa caucus—this may be his last opportunity to prove that his candidacy is viable. Despite his recent rise in national polling, the Texas senator appears to be locked in a race for second with at least five in other candidates in South Carolina, particularly Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The pro-Cruz PAC wants South Carolinians to know that Trump isn’t on their side and that he agreed with removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

“Put it in a museum, let it go,” the announcer says, parroting Trump.

Bu the truth is there may not be much that can stop Trump at this point. The pro-Cruz robocall feels like a Hail Mary pass in the fourth quarter, on a fourth down with four seconds left on the clock.

 

By: Goldie Taylor, The Daily Beast, February 19, 2016

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Confederate Flag, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Caught Between The Devil And The Deep Orange Sea”: Who Does The Republican Establishment Hate More, Trump Or Cruz?

Dear Republican establishment: The horns of your dilemma were laid bare this evening. You’ve spent the last few months worrying about the damage Donald Trump will do to the GOP brand; the latest debate proved that there is indeed a candidate who can take on the tyrant of Trump Tower directly and deftly.

But that candidate is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who may actually stir more loathing in the Republican establishment breast than even Trump.

Oh what’s an insider Republican to do? They may end up trapped between the devil and the deep orange sea.

The Trump-Cruz tussle fizzled in the last debate but Thursday night sparks – and jabs, and even a comment about a candidate’s mother – finally flew between the GOP frontrunners.

The proximate cause of friction between the pair was the ongoing question of Ted Cruz’s birth status, an issue that Trump has been pushing in recent weeks as Cruz has steadily climbed in the polls. The Texas senator had a polished answer (OK, where Cruz is concerned “polished answer” is redundant), starting with the obligatory glad we’re focused on the important issues quip, pivoted to a shot at Trump noting that in the fall the former reality TV star had dismissed this as a non-issue.

“Since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have,” Cruz said. “And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are dropping in Iowa, but the facts and the law here are really clear.” Cruz even stretched his answer to include the fact that Trump’s mother was born in Scotland.

Trump came back with his claim that he doesn’t care about Cruz’s status but that those mean old Democrats are bound to bring suit on it. The claim is a transparent chuck-and-duck dodge and the crowd let him know they weren’t buying, booing him lustily. (They also booed him when he cited a poll showing that he had pulled back ahead of Cruz in Iowa.)

Point Cruz.

Trump did better in the evening’s second go-round with Trump, when the Texas senator was asked about his attacking the realtor for embodying “New York values.” Asked to clarify, Cruz said, “There are many, many wonderful working men and women in New York,” Cruz said. “But everyone understands that the value of New York City are socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, focused around money and the media.”

Trump shot back: “When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York,” he said, noting New Yorkers’ fighting spirit and the lingering stench of death in lower Manhattan for months afterward. “Everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New Yorkers.”

Point Trump, I think – though in a GOP primary, New York as modern day Sodom and Gomorrah may well play better at this point than any lingering sentiment of post-9/11 unity.

To wit, this Twitter exchange between uberconservative Erick Erickson of RedState and the Examiner’s Tim Carney, who is himself no liberal.

Would I be more American, Erick, if my home state had fought against America in the 1860s? — and lost? https://t.co/tcsGMyOrep

— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) January 15, 2016

And I’m just going to throw this one in as well because as a native New Yorker I think it’s right on target:

Real New York values: Losing 3,000 brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers to Muslim terrorists — and not resorting to Trump-style fearmongering

— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) January 15, 2016

Anyway, back to Cruz and Trump. The GOP establishment has spent months working itself into a lather about the danger Trump poses to the party. But no one has demonstrated an interest or an ability to stand up to him. Sure, there have been sporadic attacks from Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Rand Paul, but they’ve been clumsy and Trump has brushed them off. Cruz landed blows against The Donald tonight and the crowd was often on his side.

So the establishment should be delighted that a potential white knight may be riding in to save them from the ticking offense-bomb that is Trump, right? The only problem is that they may hate Cruz more than they hate Trump. They also worry that Cruz would prove a greater drag on House Republicans in November. Seriously.

So will any of the four establishment candidates – Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and sitting Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey – step up? The four remain bunched up in the polls – and don’t look now but Kasich has moved up four points in the last month.

Rubio had his usual smooth debate and a strong exchange with Cruz accusing him of being a run of the mill flip-flopper. Bush displayed more energy than in earlier debates but it’s too little and too late. Kasich managed to win plaudits from Trump, and Christie displayed his usual angry bluster and delivered his trademark complaint about senators debating legislative details.

New Hampshire had better be a culling ground; else the Republican establishment may find up that these horns and this dilemma leave them with a stinging prick.

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, January 15, 2016

January 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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