These Two Friends Love Donald Trump So Much, They Wrote Him A Song
John Reinhart and Frank Vento have been hanging out — and making music — for decades. The childhood friends are huge Donald Trump fans, and they've written an ode to their fellow New Yorker.
Reinhart and Vento and their wives live on Staten Island.
That is the borough where many of New York City's working-class Republican voters live. Donald Trump carried Staten Island with 82 percent of the vote — his best county on Tuesday.
The musicians grew up, however, about a block apart in Brooklyn. Reinhart, 66, goes by Jay. He wrote the lyrics based on Trump's speeches.
"They echoed what my thoughts have been and what I've been talking to friends about for years — for years," Reinhart said.
Reinhart was a vice president at JPMorgan Chase until downsizing forced him into retirement a few years ago. He said he had been noticing that his employer and other major corporations were outsourcing IT jobs and other work overseas.
"At 63, it's not that easy to find a brand-new job, you know — especially at the capacity I was in management. So I always said...if some politician addresses outsourcing, I'm gonna vote for them. I'm gonna be right behind, and [Trump's] the only one who ever said it – he's the only one who addressed it."
Reinhart sent his lyrics to Zento, who composed the music. Zento, 62, spent his career as a freelance professional musician until he says he had to stop working because of an injury.
Reinhart asked Zento to draw inspiration for the music for his Trump song from one of pop's biggest stars: "I was thinking of Adele's song, 'Rolling in the Deep,' and I said, just for starters, to get the ball rolling, I said, 'Let's think along those lines.'"
The two recorded the song at their friend Peter Giordano's studio in Brooklyn, with Giordano on keyboard; Reinhart on lead vocals; Zento on guitar and recorder; and another friend from Brooklyn, Joe Pinto, played the drums.
"We all did it as a labor of love," Zento said.
Zento said he met Trump in the 1980s while working a gig on one of the billionaire's yachts. He was impressed by Trump's congeniality and the way he treated his staff.
For Reinhart, there's another personal reason for his fondness for Trump. His daughter, Kim, died about two years ago at age 29, and it was related to heroin abuse.
"She just became a mommy. She had a beautiful daughter she loved. I don't understand – I never got it, still baffled by the whole thing," he said.
Reinhart is concerned about the international heroin trade – an issue Trump brings up frequently on the stump when he calls for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"That is a very soft spot in my heart, and something I'm very adamant about," Reinhart said.
Asked about some of Trump's tough talk – referring to Mexican immigrants as "rapists," calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the country or comments seen as encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies – Reinhart and Zento said that's been overblown.
"He's a New Yorker," Reinhart said. "We all talk like that."
But should presidential hopefuls be held to a higher standard for what they say? Reinhart thinks that hasn't worked so far.
"We've been holding these presidential candidates to this higher standard, being presidential, and we've had very few that really did what they were supposed to do, and that were honest," he said.
Zento admits that after the first Republican debate in Cleveland, when Trump sparred with Fox News Host Megyn Kelly, he wrote Trump a letter.
"I made a suggestion that he should take the edge off of the way he presents his ideas," Zento said. He didn't receive a response, but he thinks Trump's personality is what the nation needs now.
"He's not about the frills; he's not about patting people on the back. He's not about trying to be a nice guy, trying to be a schmooze. He's about calling things the way they are, you know? And I think based on that, I think that's what his success is attributable to," Zento said.
Both men are lifelong Republicans – but they're disappointed with the state of the GOP.
Reinhart said he worries the party's establishment will use delegate rules to prevent Trump from winning the nomination -– something he believes would violate the will of voters.
"That's not what America is about. It should be about the popular vote," he said."The rules are no good. You can know the rules all you want, but the rules are not right. They shouldn't be allowed to take the votes away from the people no matter what."
Zento said he would vote for Trump no matter what party he's in – though he thinks Trump was wise to run as a Republican and work within the current system.
"[Republican leaders] are playing the same kind of political games like we accuse other people of doing in the past. It's really become disappointing," Zento said. "I don't know, where are do you go? Who else do you turn to but The Donald? That's the catch line on this song."
Reinhart and Zento said they were proud to hear their song played as Trump entered and exited the stage at a Republican brunch on Staten Island on Sunday. They played a verse especially for NPR at Reinhart's home that evening, which you can listen to here:
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