This town hopes President Trump will spend lots of time in NJ
BEDMINSTER — President-elect Donald Trump last month held a number of high level meetings at Trump National Golf Club, prompting speculation this township could become sort of like Camp David for Trump — a place where he would come to relax, unwind and get work done away from the White House.
Mayor Steve Parker says Trump seems to spend a lot of time in Bedminster, and “a lot of the residents view that and say, 'Well, gee, he likes Bedminster just like people who live here like Bedminster,' and that’s a little bit flattering.
"The notoriety, for whatever that’s worth, I’m sure there’s a little civic pride there,” he said this week. “Mr. Trump has a lot of golf courses but the one in Bedminster Township seems to be his favorite, so we’ll just have to wait and see."
Parker said when local officials found out President–elect Trump was coming a few weeks ago, there was concern about possible traffic issues.
“Our police got involved and there was a lot of discussion and meetings ... and ultimately in Bedminster Township we didn’t get much,” he said.
Police Chief Karl Rock said the Trump visit cost the township about $3,800 in overtime. While they won’t get reimbursed for that, they’re looking into getting reimbursed for any future visits.
Trump's golf club, one of three of his in the state, already plays a role in the government of this Somerset County community. It's where elected officials hold their annual organization meeting every January.
Politically, voters in the township reliably elect Republicans. But Trump in November beat Democrat Hillary Clinton here by the slightest margin: 2,258 to 2,250.
“To have a president-elect is new to us," Parker said, but the affluent township of million-dollar homes and bucolic views is where former Gov. Tom Kean lives. Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman lives in neighboring Tewksbury.
When another resident, publisher Steve Forbes, ran for president, he had his headquarters on Route 206.
“We’re not entirely unaccustomed to citizens of note in town,” Parker said.
Local merchants are excited about the prospect of having a president spending time in their town.
“I think it would be a fine thing for the town, to give us some notoriety," said Claudia Loomis, the owner of Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies.
“I don’t know it will have a significant impact on business in the town," she said.
Danielle Terraglia, who runs Luna Rossa restaurant, said “we’re happy to have him in the area if it brings a little shine to our town."
"I mean, we’ve got a really beautiful town here, we’re proud of it.”
Roman Hnidj, the owner of Annie’s Deli, said he thinks it’s exciting to have a president have a connection to Bedminster, but he worries that “it’s going to tie up traffic a bit."
Hnidj also said if Trump comes in for lunch, “I’ll give him anything he wants.” He also said he would consider naming a sandwich after Trump.
The mayor recalled meeting Trump at a function once and shook his hand but has never spent any time with him.
"We’re all tickled he loves Bedminster as much as we love Bedminster, so how about that.”
Contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.