WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
While some political pundits may dismiss Donald Trump's presidential talk as a publicity stunt, local Republicans are treating him differently, with county leaders courting him to appear at their events.
Trump has targeted China as the cause of American job losses, and Queens Republican County Chairman Phil Ragusa said that message is getting traction with the blue-collar, Reagan Democrats that the GOP needs to win elections.
"If you look at upstate New York, all the manufacturing jobs in upstate New York are gone and I think someone like Trump would want to get those jobs back here in the United States," said Ragusa.
Ragusa said the fact Trump was born in Queens and that his family also has roots in the borough adds to his appeal.
"So we know him and to me he is a type of guy who gets things done and that's what we need," said Ragusa.
Ragusa wants Trump to speak at his organization's next fundraiser. "New York County already got him for their Lincoln Dinner," said Ragusa.
Manhattan Republican Chair Dan Isaacs confirms that Trump has agreed to headline the annual Manhattan Republican Party's Lincoln Dinner in June at the Grand Hyatt.
Isaacs said he spoke with Trump and thought "the odds were 70-to-30" that the celebrity businessman would actually run for president.
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, a state with an early primary, told reporters that Trump called her and expressed his seriousness about a potential White House bid.
In Iowa, the celebrity businessman is getting a different reception. Republican leaders there say they doubt Trump is really ready to campaign hard. Trump said he will make his intentions known before a GOP banquet in Des Moines in June.
Michael Caputo, who worked on Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino come-from-behind, GOP gubernatorial primary win said Trump could find himself similarly positioned to benefit from disaffected GOP voters looking for a non-politician.