NEW YORK, N.Y. — Welcomed by angry protesters in the pouring rain, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pleased high dollar Republican donors and others at the Union League Club in Mid-Town Manhattan Monday afternoon.
Walker is a likely Republican presidential candidate and although the event was closed to press, one attendee told reporters that Walker spoke about his ideas and took questions for almost an hour before leaving to go to an interview with Fox News.
Walker did not take shots at any declared or potential Republican presidential candidates one attendee made clear, but billionaire Philanthropist David Koch, an attendee himself, said he thought Walker’s points about improving public education were “brilliant,” saying the Wisconsin Republican spent 15 minutes on the issue.
“So obviously I really like his point of view,” Koch said.
“I really wish him all the best. He’s a tremendous candidate to be the nominee,” Koch told reporters outside of the ULC. Koch, along with others, had walked into the club an hour earlier and was jeered by local Teamsters protesting Walker’s visit.
“They take the point of view, I guess, he is anti-union. I would say I think they have that backwards,” New York Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said.
“Those very men and women protesting across the street—they have families and Mr. Walker or Governor Walker—the only thing he’s interested in is making sure all those families can exist and make a living and survive. You’ve got to grow the country. You just can’t pander to special interest groups.”
Long said Walker “delivered a very good message about the lack of leadership in our nation.” He added, “I think he’s someone that needs to be seriously looked at.”
Attendees also think Walker has what it takes to beat Hillary Clinton.
“I think so—no question about it. So, if enough Republicans have a thing to say, he’ll defeat her by a major margin,” Koch said.
Long believes Walker has the “determination” to beat Clinton, “And after listening to him speak today it became clear, too, that he identifies the problems we face as a nation.” Long added, “One of the biggest problems is leadership and he understands that its not the America he grew up in, so I think he certainly enthused many people up there.”
Koch says that the Republican Party should maintain focus on Clinton in the meantime.
“She’s obviously the front runner. I think if these various candidates get involved in the primary later this year in the spring and the early summer, they can be very effective in diminishing her points of view,” he said.