President Trump visits Northern and Central New York

President Trump visits Northern and Central New York




By Spectrum News Staff

President Donald Trump is making one of his more extensive trips through Upstate New York since becoming president, a swing that will mix both policy and politics and take him from the North Country to the Mohawk Valley.

Vice President Mike Pence will also accompany the president in his visit to New York.

Trump today will travel to Fort Drum where he’ll sign the National Defense Authorization Act for the year in the district of Rep. Elise Stefanik. Later in the day, he’s due to travel to Utica for a fundraiser with Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican facing a competitive re-election challenge from Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.

The trip itself comes days after a third House member from New York, Republican Rep. Chris Collins, announced he would suspend his re-election campaign amid insider trading charges.

Collins’s decision on Saturday to step aside virtually dashes any need for Trump to make a public statement in support of Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse his bid for the presidency. Then again, the famously off-script president may still say something about the situation.

The president is broadly unpopular in New York overall — not surprising given the state’s heavy Democratic enrollment.

But Trump remains popular with Republicans, especially those in upstate New York, where he won the bulk of the counties over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

And with the Republican base, Trump remains wildly popular, making a visit to a congressional district especially key for a sitting member of Congress for his own party. And this will be doubly true for a president who enjoys the pomp of a military-themed visit.

For Stefanik, the president’s trip to Fort Drum is especially important. President Obama visited the facility in 2011 and it remains an important installation for the military in New York after a decade of base closings.

The House member who represents Fort Drum in Congress has been looked to on military issues, automatically elevated to key committee assignments. Traditionally it’s been a Republican district, though that changed briefly after Obama nominated then-Rep. John McHugh to become secretary of the Army and Democrat Bill Owens won the seat.

Stefanik is seeking re-election this year for a third term, facing Democrat Tedra Cobb.

In Central New York, Trump is helping out Tenney, a vocal supporter of his in the House. Tenney, a freshman lawmaker, is in an increasingly costly race against Brindisi in the 22nd Congressional District, which stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier region.

Trump has been an important validator for Republicans in tough re-election battles, providing a base-rallying boost ahead of the election. And Tenney, who has struggled to fundraise competitively against Brindisi, is sure to benefit from today’s event.