Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s visit to New York certainly was a surprise for most when it was reported this morning, as was the fact that he was here to speak with Hispanic business leaders in one of New York’s most immigrant-friendly communities.
So maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise when, before Rick Perry’s arrival, Congressman Charlie Rangel showed up. The Inwood restaurant Perry was scheduled to be at is, after all, in Rangel’s district. It’s just that when Rangel’s tinted black car pulled up to the front of the restaurant, the camera-laden frenzy of reporters expected it to be Perry.
“I guess I’m here for the same reason all of you are here,” said Rangel, pressed up against his car. “Figuring out why he’s here.” He then went in to Papasito restaurant, and was followed by Perry about 5 minutes later.
Perry did not stop to talk to reporters, but Rangel emerged from Papasito about 15 minutes later.
What happened in there?
“I wanted to make him feel comfortable,” he said. “I just thought its important that he know that in our community, like most American communities, we welcome any voices … if they want to go into communities where people don’t share their views, they certainly have to open their doors to other people.”
Rangel said he was unsure if Perry was using the event as a fundraiser.
“I don’t know how he’s going to conclude,” he said, “but I got out before he asked me for money.”
Rangel did add that he was unsure why exactly the candidate had chosen his district for his appearance.
“I really though he came here for political support,” he said. “But maybe you have a better idea.”
By Emily Atkin