First lawmaker to endorse Trump says mogul has bipartisan appeal.
Donald Trump can win New York in the general election, a Buffalo-area congressman said Tuesday.
Rep. Chris Collins, a onetime Jeb Bush supporter who became the first member of Congress to endorse the billionaire real estate tycoon’s presidential bid, predicted on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Trump will carry Staten Island and could replicate the success of Republicans like Rudolph Giuliani in the rest of New York City.
“There is a pathway, especially when we get down to a two-person race, Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton,” he said. “She doesn’t create any enthusiasm with her base, whatsoever.”
Beyond the city, winning will require doing well in normally Democratic areas in Upstate New York, Collins said. He pointed to his own Erie County, a 2-1 Democratic stronghold where he won election amid a financial crisis in 2007 to the position of county executive, with 64 percent of the vote.
“When the electorate needs solutions, they turn to Republicans,” he said. “And that’s why Donald Trump’s gonna do well. The families of those who have lost their jobs, they are excited about Donald Trump. They don’t care whether he’s a Republican or what party he’s registered in. He has solutions, and he’s articulating those, and they’re resonating, to bring these jobs back.”
Collins differs with Trump on some issues but shares his views on trade. Both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations. Both favor taking a hard line with America’s trade competitors, particularly China and Mexico.
Collins noted the once-mighty Westinghouse Electric was among the remnants of a collapse that cost the region some 10,000 jobs. The impact was far more devastating because of the multiplier effect, he said.
“So when we lost 10,000 Westinghouse jobs, the community lost 70,000 jobs,” he said.
Collins expressed confidence in Trump’s ability to reorient the terms of America’s trade posture with the rest of the world.
“We don’t have a level playing field,” he said. “If we did have a level playing field, we would continue to have those jobs here … These countries depend on their products coming into the U.S.
“So, you don’t sit down and negotiate with China. You don’t negotiate with Mexico. We have a huge trade deficit. You sit down, like I’m sure Donald Trump will do, and say, ‘Here’s the terms under which we will allow your country to export into the United States. Here’s our terms. And you know what? They’re not negotiable.’”
Collins said Trump reminds him of the last Republican who carried the Empire State in a presidential election — Ronald Reagan.
“He was elected when there was a void of leadership,” he said. “And that’s what we have now.”