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President Trump arrives in Westhampton to attend fundraiser

08/17/2018 2:44 PM |

President Donald Trump arrived in Westhampton Friday afternoon en route to a fundraising luncheon in Southampton.

Air Force One was scheduled for an 11:50 a.m. arrival at Francis S. Gabreski Airport and touched down around noon.

Local officials including Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore greeted Mr. Trump as he stepped off the airplane. They were also joined by John Raguso, whose son Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso died in a helicopter crash in Iraq in March, Doon Gibbs, Director of Brookhaven National Lab, and Rocky Point teenager Quentin Palifka.

A crowd of supporters from the 106th Rescue Wing, which is stationed at Gabreski, gathered near the tarmac for the president’s arrival. After shaking hands and stopping for pictures with some of the crowd, Mr. Trump got into his limousine and escorted by motorcade to Southampton Village.

A group of protestors was also gathered across from Gabreski Airport.

President Trump and Congressman Lee Zeldin. (Credit: Tara Smith)

Roadways from the airport to Southampton were closed from around 10:30 a.m. Friday morning and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary restriction for planes flying below 18,000 feet in the Hamptons that will expire around 3 p.m.

According to Blair Ellis, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Mr. Trump is set to attend a fundraising luncheon with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in support of the Trump victory Committee. Approximately 60 guests are expected to attend, raising about $3 million to benefit both the RNC and Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign, she said.

The White House did not release further details on his visit to the East End.

President Trump arrives in Westhampton Friday on Air Force One. (Credit: Tara Smith)

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the fundraiser would be held at the home of Manhattan developer Howard Lorber, the executive chairman of Nathan’s Famous Inc. and chief executive officer of the Vector Group, a parent company of Douglas Elliman Realty.

Mr. Lorber served as an economic adviser to his 2016 campaign.

Mr. Trump gives a thumbs up to supporters at Gabreski Airport. (Credit: Tara Smith)

Katie Vincentz, communications director for Mr. Zeldin, said the congressman would be traveling with Mr. Trump to the fundraiser.

This marks Mr. Trump’s first visit to the East End as president. He hit the campaign trail in Southampton and Patchogue in 2016 and returned to western Suffolk County twice in less than a year to discuss MS-13 as president.

Perry Gershon, the Democrat who will face Mr. Zeldin, a Republican, in November’s election for the 1st Congressional District, criticized the fundraiser.

“Lee Zeldin and President Trump showering themselves with rich people’s money is a reminder that Zeldin is working for the interests of the corporations those people run,” he said in a statement. “While Zeldin attends fancy parties, I’m traveling all over NY-1 listening to working Long Islanders who I’m going to fight for in Washington to guarantee access to health care and restore property tax deductions.”

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Supporters hold a Trump sign at Gabreski Airport Friday. (Credit: Tara Smith)

Air Force One touches down in Westhampton Friday. (Credit: Tara Smith)

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