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Politics & Government

Trump Victory In New York Sends Message To Other Northeastern States

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's talk more now about Donald Trump's victory in the New York state primary yesterday. We have Carl Paladino on the line. He is Trump's honorary campaign co-chair in the state of New York - very familiar with politics in New York state. He was the Republican candidate for governor in 2010. Mr. Paladino, good morning.

CARL PALADINO: Hi, good morning, David.

GREENE: So I know we have you on a cell phone, I gather on the way to the airport. Where are you headed?

PALADINO: I'm going back to Buffalo.

GREENE: OK, well, I want to ask you about your home state. I mean, this was supposed to be a good place for Donald Trump. He was expected to do well. You know, Ted Cruz was never expected to win a lot of support. So what makes this specific win important?

PALADINO: I think it sends a signal to the other states in the Northeast that, you know, we believe in New York, that our native son is the guy for the job. And hopefully that spirit will carry through for the next week and a half as we take Pennsylvania and Maryland and Connecticut and New Jersey.

GREENE: You talk about your hope to continue racking up more states. But it still, many say, seems likely that this could be sort of a messy convention. I mean, if Donald Trump does not have the delegates to get a clear victory heading into the convention, what is his strategy at this point?

PALADINO: First of all, I think the media is obsessed with the idea that he might not get to the 1,237 votes. We're looking at winning this nomination process well before we get to the convention in Cleveland. And I think that's definitely possible and more likely than having acrimony and turmoil in Cleveland that would result, in my opinion, in the end of the Republican Party as we've known it.

GREENE: That sounds pretty dramatic. You're saying if they stood in his way, if he did indeed have a delegate argument, that it would be the end of the party as you know it.

PALADINO: Well, you've got to look at the intensity of the people that are supporting Donald Trump. This is a political revolution. This is not an election - not your everyday type of election. This thing is very meaningful, OK? We're talking about ridding the party of the establishment class - ridding Washington of the Washington elite monsters that have given us this illicit government that people just can't stomach any more.

That festering anger has been going on for many years in the minds of the - what we used to call the silent majority. And they're not silent anymore. Now they're the vocal majority. And they're pretty upset over what's been happening in America. They give us a guy like Obama, and we've had to tolerate incompetence. We've had to tolerate his biases. But a man who in every respect looks like he despises America is the leader of America. And this is disgusting. He's so into himself that he just - he can't help himself. And how did a guy like this rise to that point of being president of the wonder of history and of the world?

GREENE: Donald Trump can be criticized at times. It is said that - you know, his critics say he is playing on...

PALADINO: Everybody can be criticized. Everybody has flaws, OK?

GREENE: Well, I wanted to give you the chance to respond to the criticism that it's - you know, he has been using so-called scare tactics. Give me something substantive that you feel you could tell New York voters. Like, here's the proposal...

PALADINO: I think the press has to get over that, OK? If you're looking for - if you're looking to find a flaw or a gaffe, you're going to find it in anybody, OK? The essence of the man is that he's speaking to the people. And he speaks directly to them. And he engages them. People that get onto this bus, the Donald Trump bus, are people that are very, very frustrated with their government as it's been. That's the most important thing. It doesn't matter what kind of person is the exterminator, OK? They want the raccoons out of the basement.

GREENE: We'll have to stop there. Carl Paladino, thank you very much for joining us. He's the honorary co-chair of Donald Trump's campaign in the state of New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.