President Donald Trump signaled in an interview Thursday that he would make a strong appeal to win over voters in his native state of New York.
Such a victory would make him the first Republican presidential nominee to win the Empire State since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
In an interview with the New York Post, Trump said he would make a push to win the Democratic stronghold.
“Over the last six months what’s happened is insane. It’s insane. So we’re going to try very hard to win New York and that will be the first time — is that since Ronald Reagan, I guess?” Trump said.
A surge in violent crime and the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit New Yorkers, especially in New York City, hard.
Trump told the Post he wants to offer New Yorkers lower taxes and safe streets.
“I will bring down taxes and I’ll make sure that New York City is a safe place. I mean, this is one of our cherished — this is a cherished diamond of this country. And we can’t let this happen to New York,” he said.
The Trump campaign will spend money in New York state and also plan campaign events there, Trump added.
“We’re going to invest in there, we’ll visit. I’m going to put it down as you know on the list,” he said.
“For instance, we think we’re going to win New Mexico, we think we’re going to win Minnesota. We think we’re, we have a shot perhaps at Virginia because they have a very, very strange governor.”
White House political director Brian Jack added that he believes the GOP can at the very least flip House seats in New York state.
“The first thing I say is look at the congressional races, and New York, you’ve got at least three, four, maybe even five competitive seats. And some of those seats the president carried by very wide margins,” Jack told the Post.
“You look at New York 11, New York 19, there’s quite a few opportunities in upstate as well,” Jack added.
Trump told the Post he knows winning New York would be difficult.
“I’ll solve the crime problem. I’ll solve their tax problem. I’ll solve all their problems. Who would not vote for me?” Trump said.
“We did well last time, but to get over 50 percent is hard for a Republican.
“But we’re putting New York in play,” he said. “We’re going to play it very strong and very hard. And we are going to try to win New York.”
Trump was was roundly defeated in 2016 in deep-blue New York.
While he carried the vast majority of New York’s counties, Hillary Clinton won the state by 22 percentage points, in large part because she carried New York City, winning 86.6 percent of votes in Manhattan and 88.5 percent of votes in the Bronx.
Clinton received 59 percent of votes in the state compared to Trump’s 36.5 percent.
Trump was more competitive in New York’s other urban areas, and won over a majority of rural voters.
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