Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — As the billionaire Donald Trump continues to toy with the idea of launching a campaign for governor against the popular incumbent Andrew Cuomo, local Republicans were afforded the chance to size him up recently.
Few were able to get closer to Trump than Niagara County Republican Committee Chairman Scott Kiedrowski, who was invited to a private meeting with the bombastic real estate tycoon and reality television star, in a back room of Salvatore’s Italian Garden with about 25 others, including state GOP Chair Ed Cox.
Kiedrowski, who is also the City of North Tonawanda’s clerk-treasurer, said he wasn’t expecting the private invitation as he arrived on Transit Road to a crowd of about 75 Trump supporters toting signs in opposition of the New York SAFE Act, a law Trump also opposes.
Kiedrowski was introduced to Trump by Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, got his picture taken with and had a brief conversation with the famous New York City resident. After Trump spoke before a crowd of about 600, Kiedrowski said he was shuffled off to a private room.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there it was unbelievable,” Kiedrowski said. “It was very interesting because he was really frank about running.”
While that commitment hasn’t been made yet, as Trump waits to see whether Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino makes a bid on the Republican ticket, Kiedrowski said he and other Republican county chairs are also holding out before giving their support to any one candidate.
“You don’t want to commit and then find out one or the other decided to drop out,” Kiedrowski said. “I’m taking the wait-and-see approach as I think every other county chairperson is.
“It’s been in the papers, he’s looking to run opposition free,” Kiedrowski continued. “He said he feels New York is in some dire need of change, he was very down to earth and plain spoken. A lot of individuals I run into in North Tonawanda say they want someone they can speak to in elected office. Talking to Mr. Trump was like having a conversation with a friend next door.”
Kiedrowski said he agreed to keep the details of the discussion close to the vest. He did admit that conversing with someone who's internationally recognized was a bit surreal.
“It was just amazing to be that close to someone you’ve only seen on television. He’s actually a very tall man. You hear about him, about the hairstyle. It’s all 100 percent true," he said. "As I told my wife and children and friends, I thought it was pretty neat that a Polish kid from NT got to shake hands with Donald Trump, regardless of politics.”