GOP Voter Tells NBC Reporter: ‘If You Don’t Like It, Go to Venezuela’

While talking to Republican voters in Staten Island, NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff got a reality check in how much support exists for President Trump in the New York City borough. One woman even suggested that if the journalist didn’t like her conservative views that he could, “go to Venezuela.”

Soboroff began the segment by touting Democratic hopes to flip the island’s red congressional district blue: “Overwhelmingly Democratic New York City is actually home to a Republican congressman in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. Democrats think they can change that this year.”

 

 

Noting that “New York’s 11th District voted for Trump by a huge margin” in 2016, Soboroff met incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Donovan at a local grocery store to talk to voters. One woman they encountered was a staunch GOP supporter wearing a t-shirt that read “Stand for the flag, kneel for the cross.” When Soboroff commented on the shirt, the woman, only identified as Jenny, remarked: “Absolutely. And if you don’t like it, go to Venezuela.” The reporter burst out laughing.

Walking over to the deli counter, one of the store employees told Soboroff that one of her top issues in the upcoming midterm elections was “Supporting my president.” A customer standing there agreed: “Same thing. I love Donald Trump. He’s great.” Both Trump backers were women and the deli worker noted that support for the president had intensified, “Especially after the Kavanaugh thing. So many women that work here were outraged by that.”

Soboroff was surprised: “Really?” She explained: “Yes. The way he was treated, just the treatment.”

The reporter asked: “What do you want from your Congressman?” The store employee replied: “Oh, my God, I would love to see a wall built, I would love to see his agenda move forward. Life is good for me, I’m a simple girl.”

Traveling to the nearby terminal for the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan, Soboroff spent more time talking to voters with Donovan’s Democratic challenger Max Rose, asking one of that candidate’s supporters: “So many Democrats, more Democrats out here than registered Republicans, but Staten Islanders keep voting for Republicans. Why do you think that is?” The Democratic voter complained: “I think it’s just a different borough than other places.”

After the taped report, Soboroff told the Today show hosts: “You heard the guy at the end say that Staten Island is just a different borough than other places. Which also means Democrats, if they want to win, are gonna have to campaign on different issues like, believe it or not, for a national campaign, traffic.”  

He added that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren trying to turn her dubious claims of Native American heritage into a national issue was not helping Democrats in swing districts like Staten Island: “And so, that’s why you have people banging their heads when you hear Elizabeth Warren talk about her DNA test just 22 days before the election. Because they feel like, in these local districts, this is what people want to be talking about.”

Just a week earlier, visiting another Republican congressional district in southern California that Democrats were hoping to flip, Soboroff was disappointed to learn that many of the young voters that Democrats were counting on weren’t interested in voting.

Here are excerpts of Soboroff’s October 16 report on the Today show:

7:40 AM ET

(...)

JACOB SOBOROFF: I have been to Florida, Maine, Texas, California. This morning, another battleground, it’s sort of an open secret. Overwhelmingly Democratic New York City is actually home to a Republican congressman in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President trump. Democrats think they can change that this year. So we rented a car, a questionable decision in New York City, to try to figure out why.

Less than 15 miles from 30 Rock, once you get through Brooklyn, is the United States’ longest suspension bridge, the Verrazano. And it’s also the way to the heart of the only Republican-held congressional district in New York City. I’ve actually never driven across it before. We’re heading out to Staten Island, where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans.

But New York’s 11th District voted for Trump by a huge margin. It includes all of Staten Island and it feels nothing like where we came from this morning, especially here in New Dorp, where Republican Congressman Dan Donovan asked us to meet him.

Why did you want to meet at Shop Rite?

REP. DAN DONAVAN [R-NY]: Well, this is where you find out what’s really on people’s minds.

SOBOROFF: What does it say there? “Stand for the flag, kneel for cross.”

JENNY [STATEN ISLAND VOTER]: “Kneel for the cross.” Absolutely. And if you don’t like it, go to Venezuela. [Laughter] If you want me to come around and campaign for you, I most certainly will.

DONOVAN: Thank you so much, Jenny.

(...)

7:42 AM ET

SOBOROFF: Do you think you will vote for the congressional election?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN A [STATEN ISLAND VOTER]: Oh, I will.

SOBOROFF: And what’ll be the things that are on your mind the most?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [SHOP RITE EMPLOYEE]: Supporting my president.

SOBOROFF: Supporting your president.

WOMAN A: Same thing. I love Donald Trump. He’s great.

SOBOROFF: A lot of Democrats out here feel the same way you do.

WOMAN B: Especially after the Kavanaugh thing. So many women that work here were outraged by that.

SOBOROFF: Really?

WOMAN B: Yes. The way he was treated, just the treatment.

SOBOROFF: What do you want from your Congressman?

WOMAN B: Oh, my God, I would love to see a wall built, I would love to see his agenda move forward. Life is good for me, I’m a simple girl.

SOBOROFF: Life isn’t as simple for the Staten Islanders who spend much of their days off the island. So the next morning, we went to track them down at the waterfront. Every day, tens of thousands of people commute between Staten Island and Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry. If you want to really know what matters to voters out here, this is the place you gotta come. This is also where I met Dan Donovan’s Democratic challenger Max Rose.

(...)

7:44 AM ET

SOBOROFF: So many Democrats, more Democrats out here than registered Republicans, but Staten Islanders keep voting for Republicans. Why do you think that is?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [STATEN ISLAND VOTER]: I think it’s just a different borough than other places.

SOBOROFF: And you think that he’s got a shot at changing things around?

MAN: Yeah, I hope so.

SOBOROFF: Get on your ferry. Go, go, go, go! Is he going to make it? There he is, he’s getting on. He made it through. I would have felt really bad about that.

I can confirm he got on his ferry, I hope he gets it this morning. You heard the guy at the end say that Staten Island is just a different borough than other places. Which also means Democrats, if they want to win, are gonna have to campaign on different issues like, believe it or not, for a national campaign, traffic.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: But that’s why they say all politics is local. Like, there’s a reason for the cliche.

SOBOROFF: And so, that’s why you have people banging their heads when you hear Elizabeth Warren talk about her DNA test just 22 days before the election. Because they feel like, in these local districts, this is what people want to be talking about.

(...)


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