President Trump won’t be on the November ballot.
That hasn’t stopped former Warwick State Representative Joseph Trillo from running as Rhode Island’s Trump candidate for governor. A Republican turned independent, Trillo ran the president’s campaign in the state in 2016 as his honorary campaign chairman.
On Friday, Trillo brought Mark Burns, who has been dubbed “Trump’s top pastor” to Warwick’s Crowne Plaza. It was a free event. The Trillo campaign solicited $100 donations for a reception and photographs with Burns.
While the audience numbered about 50, Pastor Burns could have been speaking to hundreds. His passion for the president and his bashing of Governor Gina Raimondo was delivered with conviction and gusto and greeted with cheers and applause.
The numbers didn’t deter Burns. He said when Trump started his campaign the effort was dismissed as foolish and impossible by the media. Yet, he pointed out, as Trump campaigned and drew increasingly large crowds it became apparent his message to “Make America Great Again” resonated.
“That’s what’s going to happen to Joe Trillo,” Burns said. He urged Rhode Islanders to get on the “Joe Trillo train” and not be left waiting at the station.
In introducing her husband, Marilyn Trillo said Trillo has the voice, vision and plan for the state. She also talked about Trump and how she had been drawn to his campaign and his vision for the country “that did my heart so good.” She said her husband felt the same way.
She recalled that “he said, ‘I want to lead this state to his election for president.’”
Trillo said government assistance rolls have grown from 20 to 30 percent of the population and that Raimondo and the Democrats are happy with that.
“It’s just craziness,” he said. Trillo said the governor and the Democrats are happy with that as “more are dependent on the system and that’s more votes.”
Trillo says he can help those on assistance succeed by cutting government regulations that stymie small businesses and through education. He said he wants “to put discipline back in our schools.”
Burns defended Trump’s “put America first,” saying, “He was elected president of the United States, not the world.”
He attacked liberals who he said are more concerned about social programs and illegal immigrants. He said it’s “creating a system of entitlement,” which is making it hard on small businesses and making it easier for large corporations to leave the country.
“Your current governor…good God. Lord, if I wasn't a preacher I might have to say a cuss word every once in a while,” Burns said. “It vexes me, people like her, who will ignore the combat veteran in your own city of Providence, Rhode Island, but will open up her doors to illegal immigrants bringing them to the front of the line.”
“Your governor is clearly more excited about being the ‘Rogue Island.’ She doesn't care too much about Rhode Island...She bumped her head or something. Because this is America.”
Burns applauded Trump’s achievements.
“Isn't his policies already working? Even with all the hell that he is going through, he is still winning. Everybody that hits him, he is still winning, every time he turns he's still winning. Every time they try to draw up something, he's still winning. Every time they said he said something, he still wins. This is why we have to elect Joe Trillo,” Burns said.
“It's not about politics. It's about people. It's not even about party – it's about people. It's not about prosperity – it's about people. And if we can carry on that spirit, Rhode Island can become great again,” said Burns.