Hours after state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox challenged him to travel the state, the New York GOP announced celebrity billionaire Donald Trump will attend a party fundraiser in Albany next week as he weighs a potential run for governor this year.
(UPDATED: No, he’s not. Political consultant Michael Caputo, who has rallied support for Trump, said this evening that Trump won’t be attending after all. Trump decided it would be “unclassy” to attend after learning the event was honoring Westchester County executive and potential gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, Caputo said.)
But the political intrigue doesn’t stop there. The fundraiser is scheduled for a week from today, or the same day Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to unveil his 2014-15 budget proposal. And the featured guest is none other than Westchester County Rob Astorino, who is also weighing a gubernatorial run on the Republican line.
David Laska, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said Trump’s schedule conflicted with a Jan. 22 meeting of the party’s executive committee, which Cox said Trump had been invited to. Instead, Trump will have a speak to address party leaders at the fundraiser the night before, Laska said.
Cox has been publicly supportive of Astorino, who has traveled the state meeting with party leaders and county GOP chairs. Astorino is in Binghamton today and Syracuse tomorrow, meeting with potential donors and party officials.
In an interview with WGDJ-AM in Albany this morning, Trump said Cox would have to ask him to run and promise that the party would be unified behind him.
Shortly after, Cox appeared on WNBF-AM in Binghamton, where he said Trump would have to follow the same process as other potential candidates — which includes traveling the state and meeting with county chairs.