Trump Gains Support From Teamsters, Who Normally Vote For Democrats
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Let's hear now from a Donald Trump fan. He is a member of a union whose leaders are not such fans. Trump himself has claimed support from union members as he did over a faulty microphone just before the New Hampshire primary.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
DONALD TRUMP: They're having a revolution within the Teamsters because the men and people of the Teamsters want to vote for me. The leadership is always stuck with the Democrats. But the workers want to vote for Trump.
INSKEEP: That's what Trump says. Now let's explore that with Antonio Caracciolo, who is a member of Teamsters Local 282 in New York and Long Island and also a founding member of a Facebook page that is called Teamsters United For Donald J. Trump. Welcome to the program, sir.
ANTONIO CARACCIOLO: Yeah, well, thank you, Steve.
INSKEEP: What makes you think that Donald Trump, given the widespread revulsion at him despite his victories and his many fans in Republican primaries, is acceptable to the country at large?
CARACCIOLO: Because he's putting skin in the game, as the old saying is. He is writing the check. If someone crashes your truck or something and you own the business, you have to pay the bills. Well, he is - right now, he's paying the bills for himself. None of the other candidates can say that. Except close to him is Bernie Sanders. But Bernie's traction is losing.
INSKEEP: I could see why union members would be particularly concerned about illegal immigration because you can go to a construction site and see lots of people who are clearly immigrants and some of them may well not be here legally.
CARACCIOLO: Well, you know, in the Home Depots in Long Island and New York City, the immigrants hang out there for day labor. And when they - they chased them out of Alabama. They don't hang out there as much anymore. And know the state of Arizona and Alabama, where they were challenging people for citizenship, the illegal immigrants left the states. The jobs become more available. When there's less people, there's other jobs available. The employers who were employing those illegal immigrants, they have to turn to more-skilled workers. As less people are available for the workforce, the individuals who are hiring have to pay more.
INSKEEP: You think wages would go up if - now, that's another part of Trump's promise, to begin deporting 11 million people who are in the country without...
CARACCIOLO: I don't think he has to deport as many as we think he has to. When Arizona started acting tough on illegal immigrants, we saw Arizona license plates in New York and Long Island because they left that area.
INSKEEP: And you think came to your area is what...
CARACCIOLO: Yeah, came to New York, where was more welcoming to them.
INSKEEP: So are there a lot of debates, political arguments going on among Teamsters who support...
CARACCIOLO: Well, the president of our local, which has about 4,800 people, I don't think he'd want to tell at a union meeting, ask how many guys want Donald Trump, stand up. They're shying away from that.
INSKEEP: Because there'd be a lot of them, you think?
INSKEEP: But it sounds like there'd also be some for Bernie Sanders.
CARACCIOLO: There are some for Bernie Sanders - not for Hillary, very little.
INSKEEP: Anybody else? Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio?
CARACCIOLO: No, no.
INSKEEP: John Kasich?
INSKEEP: Why him?
CARACCIOLO: He talks straight.
INSKEEP: Is that the thing that matters most to you?
CARACCIOLO: What I was going to talk to you about is that things - the economy right now, the guys who are non-union workers are getting paid for driving trucks what we got paid 15 and 20 years ago right now.
INSKEEP: That for you is the basic concern then?
INSKEEP: Antonio Caracciolo, thank you very much.
CARACCIOLO: You're welcome, Steve.
INSKEEP: He's a member of Teamsters Local 282 in New York and a founding member of the Facebook page Teamsters United For Donald J. Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.