By Larry Gordon
The 6:46 a.m. train to Penn Station was running on time — until something happened just before the Forest Hills station. It’s been a very long time since I sat on an LIRR train this early in the morning.
We were on our way to midtown Manhattan to attend a function with President Trump. I think this was the first time I’ve been so close to a president of the United States. (I was at the White House Chanukah party last year but there were many more people there.)
Frankly, there are very few things that could get me to travel to the city at this early hour, just in time for the midtown morning rush. But this was indeed a special opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation for all that the president has done these last three years for all of us in the United States and for his Israel policy.
Although the president has a residence here in New York, he avoids frequenting his home above Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue because traffic must come to a standstill when he is here. In fact, the street is pretty jammed even when he’s not here. So, just imagine it worse than usual.
We arrived at Penn Station at about 8 a.m. For possibly our first time ever, we took the Number 3 train up to Times Square and then the Number 7 to Grand Central. I imagined these trains being stuffed to the maximum with strap-hangers and was pleasantly surprised when the trains rolled into the station practically empty for the quick ride across town.
The reception was at the finely appointed Cipriani on 42nd Street near Lexington Avenue. As with any high-security event, we had to join a long line of folks queued up on 42nd Street. Opposite our slowly moving line were a number of protesters with various placards mostly making reference to the “need” to impeach the president.
It was just a day since the news came racing through the airwaves saying that the House was going to begin an impeachment inquiry, and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had instructed her Congressional committee heads to begin issuing witness subpoenas.
What the public is unaware of is that this is exactly not the way to impeach a president and, in all likelihood, at this stage anyway, they have no plans to proceed with impeachment.
The apparent goal is to have the average American thinking about impeachment and hopefully concluding that they do not want anything to do with a president or candidate who has anything even remotely to do with something impeachable.
If there was ever a morning that was compelling to hear directly what the president had to say, this was the day. This was an event for campaign donors, so I went as a supporter of Mr. Trump’s reelection and not as a member of the press. In fact media representatives were nowhere to be seen.
As we stood on line on a beautiful warm and sunny morning, a young lady passed in front of us to enter an office building. As she walked in front of my wife and me, she said: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
My response to her was fairly quick and simple. “Five more years,” I said.
Before the president stepped to the podium, we heard from several other Republican Party operatives including Donald Trump, Jr. and RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel.
The president’s oldest son warmed up the crowd of about 500 people theorizing how the media would have reacted if he were placed on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm with a fee of $50,000 a month, with no background or experience in the field.
By the time the president finished taking photos with his $25,000 donors, we had already been standing around for over an hour waiting for his remarks. Upon taking the podium it became clear to me that Donald Trump projects an image that is larger than life.
Mostly, the president remarked about how courageous we were to attend a pro-Trump event in New York City. Listening to the president speak, if you are not mindful of the fact that he is first and foremost a businessman, you are not going to be able to appreciate what he is all about. Donald Trump looks at the world and sees how the United States has been exploited economically for decades.
Mr. Trump, for example, took us through his communications with the president of South Korea over the matter of the United States spending more than $15 billion annually to protect that country from the north. “South Korea is a very wealthy country, so why aren’t they contributing to their own defense?” the President asked.
After several extended conversations with the South Korean president saying he preferred the status quo, South Korea agreed to contribute $500 million to the defense of their own country. Mr. Trump said that he was successful in getting him up to $1 billion and that this is just a start.
There are many similar instances, and Mr. Trump says these countries will just have to pay.
Even in the aftermath of the elongated Mueller investigation which, after two years, found no Trump campaign collusion with Russia and no obstruction of justice, the Democrats are on their way to one last desperate effort to try to run Mr. Trump out of office. Congressman Al Green of Texas said in May “If we don’t impeach him, he’s going to win in 2020.” Heading into 2020, the president’s leadership is under a vicious attack by Democrats who are desperate to extricate Mr. Trump from the White House.
It was certainly worthwhile for us to show the president that he has palpable support of Orthodox Jews in New York and around the country. I can report that there were a lot of yarmulke-wearers in the room. I have been told that he is aware of that support and it means something to him.
We can probably never express adequate appreciation for the president’s uncompromising support of Israel. That was reason enough to sit on an LIRR train at sunrise as it stopped and then backed its way into Jamaica station so we could change tracks and then go around a stalled train in the Forest Hills station.
Just the opportunity to stand there and applaud the president was enough.