Trump voters hope he’ll bring accountability back to Washington
BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
A self-styled headquarters supporting the campaign of Donald J. Trump for president of the United States has opened up on Rt. 304 in Bardonia. Launched by local businessman, author and philanthropist Barry Fixler, “Trump Headquarters Rockland County” offers a meeting place for Trump supporters and giveaways of Trump’s political merchandise.
On Saturday, June 11 the headquarters hosted a rally led by Anthony Mele, U.S. Army veteran and president of the Latino National Republican Coalition of Rockland, an independent GOP Latino group that has endorsed Trump.
The gathering attracted dozens of supporters and was highlighted by speeches from Fixler and Mele broadcast over social media. The Trump bandwagon was able to bring together old nemeses Vincent Reda, former Rockland GOP chairman, and Mele, who once contested Reda for the seat, in shared support of the Trump train. County GOP Chairman Lawrence Garvey and County Executive Ed Day were not present at the event, although Garvey was among the first GOP county chairmen in New York State to endorse Trump.
Hot topics of conversation at the gathering included Trump’s support of veterans, the inefficiency of the Veteran Affairs (VA) bureaucracy, general incompetence in Washington and the need for a new style of leadership in the nation’s capital.
Mele said in a statement prior to the event: “In recent weeks, we were concerned and dismayed to observe our fellow citizens openly assaulted for no more than expressing their support for the candidate of their choice. It is disconcerting to hear the Chief of Police for San Jose, California admit he ordered his officers to stand down in the face of aggression [and failed] to uphold his oath to defend the Constitution.
“As military veterans, we swore an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. That oath did not come with an expiration date.”
Fixler was asked by the Rockland County Times how the government could allow the care of veterans to become a national disgrace. Fixler answered matter of factly, “The government we have is incompetent.”
A Trump supporter in attendance claimed that wait lists at the VA, a scandal exposed by the Washington Post over the course of 2014 and 2015, had not been rectified. The scandal led to the resignation of President Obama’s Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in May 2014.
Joe Ciardullo of New City said, “With Trump you will have accountability.”
He noted Trump’s catch phrase on the reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” was “You’re fired.” There should be the same consequences for poor performance in Washington DC, Ciardullo said.
Fixler said he has never ventured into political waters before, but he is confident that Trump is the man this country needs. According to Fixler, his fight for Trump is the third defining fight in his life. The first, he said, was service in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, the second was a gun fight with armed robbers attacking his store Valentine’s Day 2005 and the third is for Trump and the future of the country.
The Bardonia, NY Trump headquarters has not been officially recognized by Trump’s campaign, but seems to embody its spirit. Fixler said the site has attracted enthusiasts of the candidate from a wide range of society, including about 50 seniors from Clarkstown North High School who recently descended upon the storefront, expressing support and looking for Trump gear.
If Trump is to prove victorious over Democratic stalwart Hillary Clinton, self-motivated actions of supporters like Fixler figure to play a role. In addition to Fixler’s efforts, an unknown personage has placed striking placards across Rockland that read “Trump: Good Business, No Politics.”