In blue New York, Democrat electeds confront life with a President Trump
As the numbers rolled in at Hillary Clinton’s election night headquarters, Democratic elected officials from all levels of New York government had to face the fact that they would be living and governing under a Republican president who many of them had openly denigrated. In a series of conversations late Tuesday and early Wednesday conducted while Donald Trump’s victory seemed very likely but was not yet confirmed, officials’ responses ranged from defeated to combative.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer spoke to City & State while walking with his security detail through the ground floor of the Jacob Javits Center, where defeated-looking Clinton-supporters slumped in chairs and against walls watching TV. “There’s profound disappointment,” he said. “We’re hoping for the best, but unfortunately, we’re probably going to have to prepare for the worst.”
Stringer, who oversees city-held trust funds and pension funds, was not yet ready to comment on Trump’s effect on the stock market, however, saying that his team would be following the markets throughout the night and up to Wednesday’s opening bell. “It’s obviously something that we have to look at,” he said.
His statewide counterpart, New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was not particularly worried about the state’s investments.
“This year has been typified by volatility in the markets,” he said. “We saw what happened with the Brexit vote: similar, unexpected outcome, markets tank right away, then they came back. We always have concern when the futures are down, but that’s not the final word. A lot will settle out over the next few days.”
DiNapoli did share concerns about next year’s state budget. Irrespective of a Trump presidency, he said, state revenues are below projection and there are numerous spending commitments.
”Next year’s going to be a tough year,” DiNapoli said. “One would hope Washington will be supportive of us, the states, on infrastructure, other kinds of spending. Perhaps with this administration, we won’t see that.”
For Rep. Gregory Meeks, a Trump presidency hit close to home. The 18-year congressman represents the Queens neighborhood of Jamaica Estates, where Trump grew up. But Meeks had no pride in the new president.
“From the rhetoric he was talking, he doesn’t represent anything that I know of,” Meeks said. “The things that he said is not respectful of any man or any American. I have yet to hear any policy from him, whether it be foreign or domestic. And so I have real concerns as to how he’s going to govern this country should he be president.”
When City & State asked Meeks if he had ever worked with Trump, his response was curt: “He’s never worked with anybody that I know of, especially of people of color.”
Other officials were simply dumbfounded. The Bronx’s Michael Blake was elected to just his second term in the Assembly Tuesday night, but throughout the Clinton candidacy he used his standing as a former aide in the Obama administration to campaign across the country for the Democratic nominee. City & State found him standing on the floor of the Javits Center, shaking his head while other Clinton supporters filed out.
“I think if you interacted with anyone who tried to tell you they saw this coming, they’re lying,” Blake said. “What we have to say to constituents right now, is we have found ways to rebuild before. And we would clearly have to do that again… It’s a surreal reality.”