The Queens Village Republican Club held its 143rd Anniversary Lincoln Dinner on Sunday at Antun’s on 96-43 Springfield Boulevard with a lineup of distinguished guests.
About 200 people attended the five-hour event filled with speeches and awards given to certain individuals. Juan Carlos Polanco, a lawyer and regional director for State Assemblymember Brian Kolb (R-Ontario County, Seneca County), presided as the master of ceremonies for the dinner.
A few noteworthy names for the banquet included former White House official Roger Stone, City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven), and State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island).
With “Make America Great Again” banners behind the stage, the club’s president Philip Orenstein welcomed those in attendance and highlighted the club longevity as a landmark.
“We’re the oldest Republican club in America, founded in 1875, and still going strong. We will continue to do that as well,” Orenstein said.
The dinner’s annual Abraham Lincoln keynote address was delivered by former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Frank Gaffney, Jr. Gaffney, who also founded The Center for Security Policy, a Washington DC-based think tank that focuses on national security.
Gaffney felt honored of receiving the lecture as he admired Abraham Lincoln. He elaborated that, if Lincoln were alive, he would feel the nation is in a “civil war” once again albeit without violence. This resulted from the rhetoric and actions of Democrats toward Republicans not just in federal government, but across the country.
“The only legitimate exercise of power, according to the Democrats, is its own,” Gaffney said.
Perhaps the most anticipated speaker of the night was Roger Stone, a former adviser to presidential campaigns including Donald Trump’s 2016 run.
Stone, who signed autographs of Trump later, talked on a variety of topics from his opinions on the Mueller investigation on Trump and his team to the 2016 election. He shared that Donald Trump overcame significant odds to become the President.
“Donald Trump quite simply outfoxed, outworked, outfought, and outhustled his opponent,” he said.
Moreover, he explained that, since Trump’s victory, Democrats have worked to remove a jobs creation with a different vision for the country. He noted Trump’s strategy of using tariffs as evidence of the president’s ability to obtain better trade deals from countries.
Stone also praised Trump’s appointment of Larry Kudlow as Chief Economic Advisor as he viewed Kudlow as someone who can help “turbo-charge this economy.”
He ended his speech by reiterating the importance of Richard Nixon as a resilient president rather than the conventional view as a disgraced politician.
“It’s time for Republicans to embrace the legacy of one of our greatest presidents,” he said.
In addition to the remarks, the club provided awards for youths, a veteran, and club members. At one point, when David Bressler received his award, he announced he would again run against State Assemblymember Ed Braunstein (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Broadway-Flushing, Douglaston, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Whitestone) in the 26th Assembly District.
“I want to make Ed Braunstein a private citizen,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk County, Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island) gave the event’s closing address and emphasized the country’s recent changes were a direct result of Republican leadership.
“There’s a time right now in our country that for the first time in decades we’re…on the world stage where we’re certainly not apologizing for American greatness,” Zeldin said.
The night of the event was full of cheer, laughter, and applause, best captured in a question by Zeldin.
“How good does it feel that President Obama is gone, that Hillary Clinton didn’t win, and Donald Trump is making America great again?,” he said to a fierce applause and cheers from the audience.