Trump Does Have City Donors. A Few

Allan Appel File PhotoIt can be lonely being a Donald Trump supporter in blue New Haven. Just ask Erin Reilly.

Reilly wanted to put a Trump sticker on her car. Then she thought better of it. Given the reactions she gets when people learn she’s supporting the Republican presidential nominee, she figured someone would “trash” her vehicle.

But that didn’t stop Reilly from joining an exclusive club: New Haven Trump donors.

It’s hard to find a visible Trump supporter not only in person in New Haven, but in campaign records. A review of individual donations to Trump’s federal campaign committees processed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows Reilly, a self-employed financial planner, is one of at least four people in New Haven contributing to Trump in the most recent fundraising cycle—with a total of four separate contributions summing $500.

Reilly donated $150 of that total on June 14, 2016. Of the three other New Haven Trump contributors besides Reilly, two are listed as retired, and one is listed as a property manager. City Properties LLC manager Edward Lockery donated $50 on June 22, 2016. Eric Palmer, retired, made one donation of $200 on Sept. 12, 2015. Daniel Keirstead, Sr., also retired, made one donation of $100 on June 25, 2016.

Reilly provided the Independent with receipts for several other smaller donations she had made to the committee, which were not recorded on the FEC database. A spokesperson for the FEC could not say exactly why this was the case, or whether it meant other New Haven Trump donors were missing from the dataset.

A broader search of fundraising committees connected to organizations bearing Trump’s name uncovered another nine New Haven donors, who didn’t necessarily target their dollars to The Donald. Of those, one contributed to a related joint fundraising committee called “Trump Make America Great Again.” The rest contributed to the Connecticut Republican Party, which is connected to a joint fundraising committee called “Trump Victory.”

For comparison, a search on the FEC database shows 183 people in New Haven contributing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They made 914 contributions totaling $200,921.

Aliyya Swaby File PhotoThe Clinton donors listed include prominent Yale professors, city officials and community leaders, including John Bradley, CEO of Liberty Community Services, Emily Byrne, of the Housing Authority of New Haven, and Audrey Tyson, who was a Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Look through the New Haven and Connecticut Trump and Clinton datasets, downloaded from this section of the FEC site. (Committees must submit a list of contributions that exceed $200, on reports to the FEC, said Julia Queen, FEC public affairs specialist. They are not required to disclose information for a contributor who has given less than $200, unless that contributor’s total sum of donations exceed that number. Some choose to disclose all contributions.)

Reilly, who is 52 years old, lives on Quinnipiac Avenue near the North Haven line. Unlike the local Clinton donors, she doesn’t exactly get high-fives from her neighbors.

She recalled descending the staircase after a rally at Hartford’s Convention Center in April to face hundreds of jeering protesters “screaming profanities” against Trump supporters.

That, she said, is one of the difficulties of being a Trump supporter in such a blue city and state. “They say Trump is preaching hate. The only hate I see is directed at me,” she said.

Trump moves forward in this national election followed by a long trail of controversies — including verbal attacks on women, Mexican immigrants, the sitting president and a military family—some of which drew equal-opportunity ire from both Democrats and Republicans.

According to Reilly, New Haven’s Trump supporters are hiding. Accused of being racists and misogynists, they’re in the closet, she said. But everywhere she goes, she meets someone who shares her views.

Reilly said she has also lost friends through her vocal support of Trump in person and on social media. Often, her detractors don’t want to talk through the issues, she said. “Instead it’s just screaming things and cursing. You can’t even have an intellectual discussion with someone that’s just screaming at you. You end up just un-friending them. I’m not going to get abused if you’re not willing to have a conversation to get where our interests are.”

Pro-Nationalist, Pro-Small Business

Contributed PhotoLast June, Reilly was skeptical of, yet fascinated by, the corporate mogul running for president against a slate of political elites. She watched on television as he announced his decision to throw his hat into the ring and she felt “kind of amazed at what he was saying.” She considers herself a “nationalist,” not a “globalist,” and she sees that mirrored in Trump’s politics.

In that speech, he painted a picture of a United States being “beaten” by China in trade, Japan in manufacturing, and Mexico at the border. He promised to use his experience as a businessman to bring jobs back home from those countries, in part by heavily taxing foreign imports. “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump said, foregrounding a row of American flags at a podium at Trump Towers in New York.

Some thought Trump was blowing smoke. Not Reilly. She said she realized that every time he would highlight an issue relating to foreign policy or national security, a major event would happen that seemed to back up his claim.

In that same speech, Trump promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico and force the Mexican government to pay for its construction. He called undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists,” who were bringing drugs and crime into the United States.

Less than a month later, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was arrested for shooting Kate Steinle in San Francisco. Lopez-Sanchez was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who had been deported five times, and had been federally imprisoned for illegally returning to the U.S. and for drug charges. He was later convicted of second-degree murder.

Reilly took that as a sign that Trump was onto something. “I started listening to what he was saying,” she said.

As a small business owner, she distrusts big government. She is an independently contracted financial planner who owns her own business—and said corporate regulations stifle her growth. Requiring small companies to pay a minimum wage of $15 to full-time employees, regardless of merit or skill, is a bad idea, she said.

“It’s frustrating to see someone make more money because they were there longer. They may not be doing as good a job and make more money because they were there longer. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s where government fails,” she said.

She can’t afford to hire an assistant to help her pare down mountains of paperwork, because she can’t pay for their healthcare and benefits.

As a businessman, Trump will know how to cut waste in the public sector, Reilly said. He would surround himself with successful people in his cabinet, to learn what he doesn’t know.

So she donated $150 to his campaign in June. Before that, she had given smaller donations, around $50, and bought Trump swag—including T-shirts, hats and signs—from the candidate’s online store. She knew Trump didn’t need her money, she said. At first, “I was like, ‘Why would you give money to a billionaire?’”

Reilly portrayed her financial support as more of a gesture than a necessary action to get Trump elected. She has been registered Republican for years and voted for the last two Republican presidential candidates. (She also voted for Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro “every time.”)

But federal political candidates for both major parties seemed “like they were both sides of the same coin. It just seemed corrupt and crooked. It kind of didn’t matter who you were getting,” she said. Trump restored her faith in politics.

Far From “Trump Or Bust”

Filtering for Trump-affiliated committees also netted people in New Haven who donated money to the Connecticut Republican Party—whether or not they actually support Trump.

Connecticut’s is one of 11 state party committees under a joint fundraising committee named “Trump Victory,” which Trump established in May with the Republican National Committee.

(Clinton’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee is called “Hillary Victory Fund” and includes 32 state Democratic party committees.)

Retired investment advisor and local philanthropist William Curran donated $2,750 to the Connecticut Republican Party in two contributions dated this and last May as well as $750 to a joint fundraising committee called “Trump Make America Great Again” in two donations this past June, according to the database. He was the only person in New Haven to contribute to that committee between April and June, an itemized list of individual contributions shows. (Reilly sent over a receipt showing she contributed $184 to the same committee in early August, not yet processed by the FEC.)

Curran contributes money to various causes around the city. He won an Arts Council award in 2013 for his support of local arts organizations. He has also donated to the Independent.

Trump has not been friendly to mainstream media organizations, kicking the media out of his rallies and banning some outlets from covering him on the campaign trail. But that’s to be expected, Curran said: “The press has been so anti-Trump.”

Unlike Reilly, Curran is not necessarily gung-ho about the candidate. Trump was not his top choice when he had a full gamut of Republican politicians on the primary election menu. His top choice, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, dropped out in February. His next choice, Florida U.S. Sen., Marco Rubio, lasted a bit longer, throwing in the towel in March.

“We’re left with Trump,” Curran said. Trump, and not Clinton, is more likely to institute House Speaker Paul Ryan’s economic plan to scale back government regulation—a plan Curran said will spark economic growth.

Current President Barack Obama “has heaped on regulations that have made starting a business difficult,” Curran said. He predicted Clinton would be more of the same. “The classic economics 101 says that decreasing corporate tax rates has very beneficial effects. Hillary [Clinton] plans to increase those taxes. We’re not going to get any growth with her.”

When asked how or whether he has been personally affected by Obama’s policies, Curran said he hates to see “people struggling for their existence,” as he has seen for the past eight years under Obama.

New Haven is not a city teeming with economic conservatives, Curran said. “I feel that’s the price you pay” for living here.

Others who donated to the Connecticut Republican Party were quick to distance themselves from Trump.

Chris DePino, the former chairman of the party, said he contributed $275 to the committee last June because “party fundraising is important. I do what I can for the Connecticut Republican Party. I feel connected to their message.”

Trump was not a factor. “I wasn’t thinking about Trump when I made my donation,” he said. He donated during a state party dinner.

DePino, who runs a lobbying firm and is an international harmonica performer and recording artist, said he’s “not jumping and up and down about Trump.” In fact, he may not even vote Republican this presidential election. “I haven’t made up my mind who I’m going to vote for,” he said. No third parties for DePino—he’ll head to the ballots to choose between Clinton and Trump. “Throughout my entire political life, I’ve been a bipartisan Republican,” he said.

Lawyer Mark Shiffrin made sure this reporter knew his contribution to the Connecticut Republican Party was “not a Trump campaign contribution.” He contributed to the Republican party, not to Trump.

When asked flat out whether he supported Trump, Shiffrin said: “I’m not endorsing candidates in the New Haven Independent.”

An “Outsider,” A “Patriot”

Reilly is encouraged by the fact that Trump is getting major backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike for the way he’s running his campaign.

“I think they’re corrupt,” she said of establishment Republicans. “He’s talking about doing away with the lobbyists, where you’re controlled by lobbyists, where big corporations and special interests will give to a representative’s campaign.”

For that reason, she said, she would have voted for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “What you’re seeing with Trump supporters is what you saw with Bernie supporters—anti-establishment,” she said. If Sanders had beat Clinton in the primary, she would vote for Trump, because she favors small government. But she would be at peace knowing either candidate would do a good job.

“But Hillary? No, I can’t. We can’t have more of the same. It’s just not working,” she said.

Reilly said she doesn’t agree with Trump on everything, but she also doesn’t think of him as racist or sexist. She said that when Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” he was talking about the coyote smugglers who bring desperate people over the border and sometimes take advantage of them. She knows many women who support him, who are active on a private pro-Trump Facebook group she helps run.

Trump is a “complete outsider” who has enough money that he’s “not running ... because he needs the money or the power. He’s got that stuff. From what I’ve seen for the last 30 years, he’s a patriot. He loves this country. He always has. I believe that he’s sincere and he’s genuine about that,” Reilly said.

The 41 percent of voters supporting Trump across the country are characterized by political analysts as largely financially insecure white people who feel left out of traditional politics.

Sometimes they’re people who long for the days of a fiscally conservative, less regulated federal government, and know Trump is the only real path there at this point in the election.

Not all supporters contribute to a campaign. In the end, all that matters is whether they vote. Reilly said confidently that there are many more than a handful of Trump supporters in New Haven. Democrats have to stop screaming long enough to listen.

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posted by: BenBerkowitz on August 23, 2016  3:23pm

Hard to understand why she’s experienced so much hatred when her billionaire’s combover has replaced a pillow case with eye holes as the preferred headgear to hide one’s own hatred and intolerance behind.

posted by: BoydJones on August 23, 2016  3:24pm

If you support Trump’s bigotry, you own it. Every bit of it. Might as well wear a sheet with holes for eyes.

posted by: mbedford on August 23, 2016  4:16pm

It is good to see a minority who is willing to think for themselves and speak up - one who refuses to be cowed by the white patriarchy in cahoots with a disenfranchised lower class that is being duped again. It is unconscionable that a Trump supporter who admits to wanting to have a dialogue is mocked by people who refuse to engage in a conversation resorting to mockery and defriending instead of engaging in conversation.

Trump is more then just the occasional insensitive yet true comments. Composing only 3.5% of the total US population, undocumented immigrants account for a disproportionately large portion, 37%,  of the criminal population. Recognizing the problem is integral to dealing with it. It is great that our white political elites want to ignore issues that are mostly thousands of miles away - but as someone who lived on the border for a couple of years, I can tell you that there is a serious issue, and it is only getting more serious.

posted by: westville man on August 23, 2016  4:17pm

Can one Trump supporter tell me when America WAS great, if we are making it great again?  When would that be?  I’m curious.  I’m also certain that there will be groups of people who will disagree with the assessment of when.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 23, 2016  5:22pm

posted by: mbedford on August 23, 2016 4:16pm

Trump is more then just the occasional insensitive yet true comments. Composing only 3.5% of the total US population, undocumented immigrants account for a disproportionately large portion, 37%,  of the criminal population.

You used 2014.Up date 2016

We’re not being overrun by illegal immigrants
JOHN L. MICEK, COLUMN 9:37 a.m. EST March 8, 2016

Now repeat this mantra to yourself: No matter what Donald Trump says, we’re not being overrun by illegal immigrants.
In 2015, the U.S. Border Patrol caught just over 331,000 people trying to cross the nation’s southwestern border, according to the Washington Post. That’s a drop of about 30 percent year-over-year, and a massive decline since 2000, when the Border Patrol arrested 1.6 million people.In addition, citing 2015 data, the Pew Research Center found that after explosive growth in the 1990s in the early 2000s, the nation’s illegal immigrant population has leveled off.This is not to suggest the United States should slack off in its enforcement efforts. If anything, it suggests an appropriate level of current enforcement.According to a 2015 report by the American Immigration Council, based on 2010 data, 1.6 percent of immigrant males aged 18-39 were incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of native-born Americans.“This disparity in incarceration rates has existed for decades, as evidenced by data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses,” the report concluded. “In each of those years, the incarceration rates of the native-born were anywhere from two to five times higher than that of immigrants.” In 2014, the United States deported 177,960 undocumented immigrants who were convicted criminals, CNN reported, citing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement data.

Read the rest.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on August 23, 2016  6:36pm

Given his extreme vulgarity, anyone who thinks Trump is Presidential material needs to get their head examined.

However, iif Reilly wants an intellectual discussion about the merits of the Donald, she ought to listen with an open-mind to the many Republicans arguing that the election of someone like Trump, (authoritarian, anti-intellectual, intolerant, uninformed, bombastic, divisive, questionable ethics, etc.)—would be dangerous for America. Trump acts like he wants to be the next Dictator-in-Chief, not the next President.

In any case, thank you to the NHI for presenting us with the mindset of someone who gets all her news from the right-wing propaganda machine. It’s frightening how manipulated some of these people can be, but luckily together they represent less than 40% of the country. Otherwise we might be on the verge of something truly scary.

posted by: BoydJones on August 23, 2016  6:40pm

Linking up Breitbart articles goes to the heart of stupidity. Why not link up the Klan’s website?

posted by: TheMadcap on August 23, 2016  7:30pm

I like how breitbart’s headline is 37% then at the end they throw in the fact the vast majority of those cases are just immigration offenses

posted by: William Kurtz on August 23, 2016  9:40pm

“Often, her detractors don’t want to talk through the issues, she said. “Instead it’s just screaming things and cursing. You can’t even have an intellectual discussion with someone that’s just screaming at you. You end up just un-friending them. I’m not going to get abused if you’re not willing to have a conversation to get where our interests are.””

Fair enough; I guess I would ‘unfriend’ someone shouting at me because we differed politically but here’s the larger problem: it’s hard to have an intellectual discussion with someone supporting Trump (and to a large extent, national Republican political figures) because his (their) extreme bias against science, facts, logic and reason makes substantive discourse impossible. Unfortunately, the world just isn’t the way Trump and Breitbart would have their believers think it is. As the saying goes, you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

If Ms. Reilly or any other Trump supporters would like to have an ‘intellectual discussion’ about the issues at stake in this campaign, I’m sure this would be a great place for one. Anyone

posted by: robn on August 24, 2016  6:51am


The vast majority of criminal cases (30x)  are tried in state courts, not federal courts. A large proportion of immigrants end up in federal courts because the Feds are responsible for immigration issues. However, the entirety of federal cases makes up a small percentage of total cases (about 3%).

posted by: Hill Resident on August 24, 2016  8:46am

That’s what is great about America (right now). She has the right to support whomever she wants and should be free from retaliation. The very same rights that we who oppose Donald Trump’s proposals, plans & policies have and want protected cannot be denied the opposition. I just pray that someone who is able to have that discussion with her without the yelling, screaming and cussing comes around. Then perhaps, she may see the light and the error of her (his) ways.

posted by: Marion on August 25, 2016  12:57am

If there’s any hate, thuggery, or KKK-like behavior, it is coming from anti-Trump people. They’ve persistently disrupted Trump rallies, engaged in thuggish and criminal behavior outside of Trump rallies, and have attacked and assaulted Trump supporters as they arrive at or attempt to leave the rallies. They have no respect for free speech or even the right of people to walk to and from a rally without fear of abuse and physical assaults.  I recently saw video of crazies terrorizing women and families coming out of those rallies, and they also abused the police out there trying to protect the rally goers, using all kinds of obscenities and offensive gestures.  Totally disgusting and, I might add, anti-American.

posted by: William Kurtz on August 25, 2016  8:56am

Swampfoxil wrote, “If there’s any hate, thuggery, or KKK-like behavior, it is coming from anti-Trump people . . .Totally disgusting and, I might add, anti-American.”

Surely you’re joking. I won’t deny that there’s been some boorish and unpleasant behavior on the part of people opposed to Mr. Trump’s candidacy (although I do not include peaceful protests in this category) but there’s a long and well-documented list of “thuggery” and “totally disgusting and, I might add, anti-American” behavior on his side, from candidate-sanctioned violence to racist cheers, jeers, and chants from his supporters.

This catalog only lists event until March of this year:

posted by: William Kurtz on August 25, 2016  9:01am

“Trump has not been friendly to mainstream media organizations, kicking the media out of his rallies and banning some outlets from covering him on the campaign trail. But that’s to be expected, Curran said: “The press has been so anti-Trump.””

It’s frightening that Mr. Curran thinks it’s “to be expected” that journalists be marginalized by a major-party candidate because his (or her) feelings have been hurt.

posted by: Marion on August 25, 2016  9:45am

@Kurtz.  Nice try.  But show me video of TRUMP SUPPORTERS: 1) gathering en masse to block Hillary’s motorcade and shutting down the streets or highways in an attempt to stop her from arriving to speak at one of her rallies;  2) breaking down police barricades and rushing the doors at a Hillary rally; 3) constantly interrupting and disrupting a Hillary speech requiring police to take them out; 4) forming mobs outside the site of a Hillary speech and then physically assaulting, spitting at and throwing debris and otherwise terrorizing fellow Americans simply because they attended a Trump speech. here are countless video recordings of these mobs of thugs doing all of these things. THAT is fascist behavior circa Germany 1939.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on August 25, 2016  1:00pm

@ Swampfox

War is Peace
Slavery is Freedom
Ignorance is Strength
FoxNews is Fair & Balanced

Hillary supporters are the Fascists!

Which leads me to ask, do you even know what Fascism is? Because those of us, (Democrats and Republicans), standing up to Trump and his ignorant supporters definitely do!

posted by: mbedford on August 25, 2016  1:44pm

@3/5ths - I have not seen 2015 or 2016 numbers - i quoted the last available records. If you have something newer I am happy to look at it.

@themadcap Thanks for pointing that out - I had not noticed that. The correct numbers are that 13.6% of crimes are being committed by a group that is 3.5% of the overall population. Still a fairly disproportionate number and one that bears investigating and resolving instead of ignoring the problem.

@Boyd A failure to recognize between right wing and crazy nut job is exactly why todays political landscape is being called the most divided ever in America. People have different beliefs based on their backgrounds and experiences but to you if they disagree with you they are a hate group - how can someone have a rational conversation with you steeped in all that hate - they can’t. The statistics don’t lie but hey - hate group amiright.

@WilliamKurtz - statistics are statistics, feel free to comment on them instead of making a claim that “science, fact, logic and reasoning makes discourse impossible”. We are here and we are willing to talk, but if you refuse to recognize our issues - especially by being condescending- then you are the one making discourse impossible. You do not have a monopoly on “science, fact, and logic”. In fact based on your later comments in regards to Swampfox denying the obvious amount of abuse and the disgusting behavior of liberals stifling free speech at Trump rallies its fairly obvious that you are suffering from a serious disconnect with facts.

@robn - Thank you - that was enlightening. I need to do some more research and reevaluate my initial statement.

@averagetaxpayer - if you are not to busy closing your ears and eyes and chanting your mantra, why don’t you take you try to have an answer for swampfox regarding who is stifling the opposition - because once again its the “party of tolerance and inclusion”.

posted by: Marion on August 25, 2016  2:33pm

@mbedford:  Bravo - couldn’t have said it better.  @WilliamKurtz:  Fascism is as fascism does, and you can see it outside any Trump venue.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 25, 2016  6:25pm

posted by: mbedford on August 25, 2016 1:44pm

@3/5ths - I have not seen 2015 or 2016 numbers - i quoted the last available records. If you have something newer I am happy to look at it.

All you have to do is do the do some more research. As far as Trump And Hillary I will not voting for any of them.  Trump will lose due to his constant use of outrageous and hateful statements In fact he does not want to win.Also how is he going to win the battle ground states.

Donald Trump Colorado campaign office being run by 12-year-old

Despite his angelic face, the middle schooler has also been accused of involvement in “soft thug tactics” around the Trump campaign, with the Guardian reporting that Colorado Republicans against Trump complained about Imer making threatening phone calls telling them to line up behind the nominee.A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows Hillary Clinton beating Trump by 11 points in Colorado, and despite Imer’s endorsement, the billionaire is getting crushed with voters under 35.

Trump hikes rent on his own campaign office in Trump Tower

Trump jacked up the rent on his own presidential campaign, billing it more than four times the previous cost for its use of Trump Tower, once the dough wasn’t coming out of his own pocket, according to a new report.

Big name GOP people are not backing him or giving him money.

George Will Leaves the G.O.P. Over Donald Trump

“This is not my party,” Mr. Will said in a speech on Friday at the Federalist Society.Mr. Will has criticized Mr. Trump throughout his presidential run.“Only he knows what he is hiding by being the first presidential nominee in two generations not to release his tax returns .Few prominent conservatives have said they will sit out the presidential race.