Republican nominee for president Donald J. Trump mixed with the locals and enjoyed a burger and fries at the Boulevard Diner in the Baltimore neighborhood of Dundalk Monday.
“He had a good crowd here. It was exciting and I had the opportunity to literally have lunch with–hopefully–our next president,” Republican state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, who represents the residents in the neighborhood.
The Secret Service gave the order for burgers and fries for Trump’s table that included Salling, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Marc Tsakiris, whose father Sam opened the diner in 2001, told Breitbart News he said he sent over a crab cake to Trump, because it was a Maryland thing to do and Salling told him later that the New York City developer told him it was very good.
Salling said Trump did not make any formal remarks, but he listened very carefully to what he and other Maryland Republicans were telling him about the political climate in the state, which is becoming friendlier to the GOP.
Four years ago, the Republican nominee W. Mitt Romney never had the support Trump has in this part of Baltimore, he said.
“The people here were kind of hesitant about supporting a Republican back then and they really didn’t like Romney,” he said.
“I think he realized that Maryland has a lot of people, who are going to vote for him,” he said. “There are a lot of people here who support him and believe in what he stands for and what he is trying to do for our nation.”
The senator said he and the other local Republicans told Trump about the history of the Dundalk neighborhood, one of the city’s traditionally white working-class areas that had been dominated by the Democratic Party until recently, when Republicans, such as Salling, have been having success. “There are changes now from the Democratic stronghold.”
Salling said it has also helped the party that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is very popular and people see the Republican policies having success.
Kim Klacik, a political columnist and head of the community charity for young African-American women called “Potential Me,” said there was a wave of excitement as soon as Trump walked into the room.
“Everybody was wearing Trump gear, the hats, the tee-shirts, everybody was raring to go,” she said.
“Oh my gosh, Trump had a ton of energy–he is very charismatic guy–he came in the door, he’s shaking hands, he screaming: ‘Hey, everybody!’ He’s smiling. He’s taking pictures with everyone. He really was nice. He wasn’t shushing anyone away,” she said.
“There were Secret Service guys trying to keep everyone in order, but he didn’t say one word about people coming up to him–even when he was trying to sit down and eat,” she said.
“It was crazy,” she said. “People were chanting: ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ it was pretty cool.
Klacik said she would not be surprised if Trump does very well in this very Democratic city in a very Democratic state.
“People are ready for change, as the Democrats, especially in Baltimore City, has given people such a depressing situation,” she said. “It’s so depressing to see the school system.”
Tsakiris said members of his family heard about the visit Friday, but nobody took it seriously.
“About an hour before he arrived we knew he was coming because we heard it on the radio,” he said.
Somebody in Trump’s party paid for the lunch, but Trump himself tipped the waitresses, he said.
“They told me: ‘He took care of us,’ but I don’t know how much the tip was,” he said. “We’ll find out tomorrow if they don’t come into work.