NEW YORK — It’s the evening rush on the Staten Island Ferry, and Donald Trump’s New Yorkers, spent after a day’s work in Manhattan, are heading home.
There’s the construction worker who is convinced Trump will stop “pussyfooting around” when it comes to terrorism. There’s the Hungarian immigrant tow-truck driver who says Trump speaks his language. There’s the moving-company worker who believes Trump would be the first honest and courageous president in his lifetime, the diamond dealer who respects his toughness and the fashion model in awe of his glamour.
“He’s just the man, right?” says Jimmy Dawson, 20, just back from modeling Givenchy’s new line on a runway in Paris. On the ferry, Dawson looks incognito, save for his red “Make America Great Again” cap.
“It’s his wealth, his attitude,” he adds. “Look at what he’s done. It’s inspiring. Who wouldn’t want to have that life? Who doesn’t want to be rich? This is New York.”
This is Trump’s city, and these are his people. The billionaire real estate mogul is poised to wallop his opponents in Tuesday’s New York primary and record one of the biggest victory margins of the GOP presidential race so far. Recent polls show Trump topping 50 percent in the state, far outpacing Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
To understand why, listen to passengers on the ferry as it cruises across New York Harbor. They see Trump as the human embodiment of their city’s spirit and ambition. He’s big and brash and unafraid.
They say they know Trump and believe in him, even though they’ve never met him. For decades, they’ve been reading about his exploits in the tabloids, staring up at his buildings, spotting his name practically everywhere.
“He’s a New Yorker, you know?” says Frank Manzo, 51, who works for a commercial moving company. “He’s bold in some ways and he’s honest.”
Manzo says he worries about terrorism. It’s everywhere, he says: “Everybody rolls all over us because we’re not tough. They take our hostages and torture us. If somebody’s going to come in here and bomb this ferry, there should be consequences. Trump will stop it.”
That’s what Margaret Power believes, too. “Trump is very tough, real hard, and that’s what we need,” she says. “It’s time to stop pussy-footing around.”