Our Blog Calendar Sign up for updates Donate

Trump Speech in Brentwood Met With Opposition from Long Islanders

Donald Trump came to Long Island on Friday to try to divert attention from on-going investigations into his administration. The trip was ostensibly to recognize police officers involved in anti-gang activities in Suffolk County, but this was not some long-planned awards ceremony. It was a hastily cobbled together photo-op to try to convince those segments of the American electorate that still support the president that the real threat to United States security is not Russia, it is Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).

MS-13 is a deadly gang that victimizes the Central American immigrant community. Nearly all of its victims on Long Island have been immigrants or the children of immigrants. Many different groups on Long Island are working to end the gang’s string of killings. What all of them agree on is that Donald Trump’s trip to Brentwood on Friday had nothing to do with offering solutions to this problem.

Trump’s speech, which made headlines when he called for police brutality against suspects, was not even really about the problem of gangs on Long Island. Just read this segment of the speech and ask yourself what it has to do with the problem he claims to be trying to address:

One by one, we’re liberating our American towns. Can you believe that I’m saying that? I’m talking about liberating our towns. This is like I’d see in a movie: They’re liberating the town, like in the old Wild West, right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be standing up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island where I grew up, but that’s what you’re doing.

And I can tell you, I saw some photos where Tom’s guys — rough guys. They’re rough. I don’t want to be — say it because they’ll say that’s not politically correct. You’re not allowed to have rough people doing this kind of work. We have to get — just like they don’t want to have rich people at the head of Treasury, okay? (Laughter.) Like, I want a rich guy at the head of Treasury, right? Right?

I want a rich guy at the head of Commerce. Because we’ve been screwed so badly on trade deals, I want people that made a lot of money now to make a lot of money for our country.

And, by the way, as I was walking up, they just gave me the numbers. Our numbers just came out this morning. GDP is up double from what it was in the first quarter. 2.6 percent. We’re doing well. We’re doing really well. And we took off all those restrictions. And some we’re statutorily stuck with a for a little while, but eventually that statute comes up, and we’re going to be able to cut a lot more. But we’ve sort of liberated the world of creating jobs like you’re liberating us and the people that live in areas.

Apart from his reprehensible call for increased police violence against people of color, nothing in that long passage is even about Long Island, policing, or gangs. It is just another self-indulgent excursion by Trump into the recesses of his narcissism.

Long islanders were not buying what Trump was selling. More than 800 people rallied outside of Suffolk Community College while he spoke. Long Island did not greet Trump as a “Liberator,” but saw him as an exploiter of the suffering of other people. 

Pat Young is an attorney at CARECEN on Long Island.


 Rss Feed    Site Map    Terms of Use    Feedback    Contact Us