Between tweets about Kim Kardashian and Hillary Clinton, President Trump last night waded into the murky waters of Staten Island Republican politics, backing incumbent Congressman Dan Donovan in his mud-wrestling match with Michael Grimm.
In the first of two tweets, the president noted that Staten Island is “a place I know very well” and then heaped praised on Donovan “who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts.”
But Donovan didn’t actually vote for Trump’s tax cut, saying he was concerned that it would hurt New Yorkers. But perhaps the president is willing to overlook Donovan’s vote out of political expediency, citing the defeat of Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race as a reason why he’s in Donovan’s corner.
After all, Grimm was forced to step down from Congress and went to prison in 2015 on tax evasion charges, charges Grimm says were politically motivated by officials in the Obama administration.
Despite his prison stint, Grimm seemed to have some momentum in the race, with some red-blooded Republicans more than ready to forgive their old congressman, even planting fields of lawn signs in support of him in front of their homes.
While in Congress, Grimm was a fighter, speaking out forcefully for his constituents after Hurricane Sandy, but also sometimes unwisely speaking out as well, threatening NY1’s Michael Scotto after an interview in Washington D.C.
Although pugnacity is often a plus in the city’s “forgotten borough,” so is Donald Trump. The endorsement from the president could pave the road to victory for Donovan, or at least level a primary playing field that felt like it was tilting Grimm’s way. It’s primary a race that could serve as a barometer for the support of Trump, who pulled in 53 percent of the vote in the district in 2016.
Meanwhile, the candidates will be squaring off on NY1 in their only televised debate which is set for June 14 at the College of Staten Island. It’s no Kardashian, but it will still be huge.