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NY Delegates Don't Agree With Trump on Everything

New York’s delegation to the Republican National Convention is in the national spotlight for casting the votes to put Donald Trump over the top for the presidential nomination in Cleveland this week. 

But not all of the state’s politicians are in agreement over some of Trump’s most controversial foreign policies. 

There was a frequent refrain from Trump at rallies during the primary campaign:

“We’re going to build a wall, the likes of which you’ve never seen,” Trump said at a rally in Albany in April, referring to a wall between the United States and Mexico.

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And as nearly everyone has heard by now, Trump said Mexico is going to pay for it. 

New York’s Republicans, who are generally more moderate than party members in other parts of the country, now say they are solidly behind Trump, and they were proud to deliver the votes to bring him over the top at the convention.

But if you drill down deeper, many top state Republicans remain uncomfortable with “the wall,” as well as Trump’s varying statements on restricting immigration, including banning immigrants from Muslim countries.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014, is not in favor of Trump’s immigration ideas, and he said Trump has used some words that he would never say.

“I really try to build bridges and not walls,” said Astorino, who recently was in Mexico to complete a college student exchange agreement.

“But I understand what he’s saying,” Astorino said. “We have an immigration system that is completely broken in this country. And I have to deal with that as a county executive.”

Astorino said he still thinks Trump would do much better running the country than Hillary Clinton on issues such as fighting terrorism and improving the economy.

“Do I agree with everything he says? No,” he said. “But I didn’t agree with my parents on everything, either.”

State Senate GOP Leader John Flanagan of Long Island said there are some practical obstacles to building a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico, though he said he is concerned with illegal immigration. But he said he would never advocate going as far as Trump has in regard to Muslim immigrants. 

“Banning Muslims, no,” said Flanagan. “Do I think we have to have strict security policies to protect American citizens? Absolutely.”

Senate Republicans are struggling to maintain control of the Senate in November in an increasingly blue state.

Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman and former Republican gubernatorial candidate, was an early Trump supporter and is now running his campaign in New York. Paladino has no problem with the wall, and he said Trump is only voicing what many people really think when they are freed from political correctness.

“He doesn’t have the same restrictions as the progressives describe to us as absolutes. They’re not absolutes,” Paladino said. “There’s a different way of living. There’s a different approach to things.”

Paladino said Trump is a businessman who knows that it’s best to negotiate from a position of strength.

“He’s willing to go and say, ‘You mess with us, Mexico, you’re going to have to pay the dues for that.’ ”

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox offered a more diplomatic response, saying he views the wall as a symbol of the country’s stalled immigration policies.

“The wall is a metaphor,” said Cox.

But Cox said he believes that if elected, Trump will actually build it.