Earlier this year, Bushwick residents might have spotted an unlikely Trump supporter about town.
Jose Peralta, a 42-year-old Dominican immigrant, wore a red Trump hat and drove a beat-up Toyota with an “Infowars” bumper sticker while delivering for a restaurant off Knickerbocker Avenue.
“I’m one of the few Trump supporters in Bushwick and have openly expressed my opinions,” Peralta told Bushwick Daily. “There are very little Trump supporters that will be willing to say anything about how they feel. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish — to show there are people supporting Trump, and I’m one of them.”
Unsurprisingly, Peralta said it’s a “little tough” being a Trumper in Bushwick, a neighborhood Hillary Clinton won by a landslide last year. But after Trump’s surprise victory, Peralta said he was “hopeful.” With a controversial inaugural year almost over, Peralta said he still believes in his candidate.
“I’m happy with my decision,” Peralta said. “He could’ve gotten a few more things done, but he’s doing a good job. He has come through with some of the things he promised, like the economy.”
Pointing to the economy’s success, Peralta noted that the stock market continues to break records under Trump. It even reached its highest point of all time last Thursday, marking the second-longest stretch in American history, according to The New York Times stock report.
When asked about who is reaping the benefits of the stock market boom, Peralta responded, “Who’s it going to be bad for? Even if you’re a progressive, it still gives you hope. If businesses are doing good, it should trickle down.”
Since the beginning of the 2016 election, Peralta — like most of the Latinx population in New York City — said he has backed candidates who promise to improve the economy, healthcare, and education. In the primaries, Peralta supported Rand Paul. Although the Bushwick delivery man shares some Republican values, he doesn’t identify as a one.
On the streets in Bushwick, some have questioned the Dominican sporting a Trump hat. One such person stopped Peralta and asked, “how can you like this racist who is trying to pull all of your people out of the country?”
Peralta — again, like most Latinx in New York City — isn’t so much concerned with immigration, even though he was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the U.S. when he was nine.
Peralta said he doesn’t believe Trump is on a manhunt to get rid of Latinx or Dominican people. Instead, he thinks Trump is targeting undocumented immigrants, which is something he supports.
“A big reason why immigrants come to this country is the U.S. has laws,” Peralta said. “People in the Caribbean know that a lot of times the law isn’t followed. They come here because it’s a country of laws. There’s a red light, you stop. There’s a stop sign, you stop.”
Before the election last year, Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, who represents a sliver of southeast Bushwick in the 41st district,, noticed Peralta’s “Infowars” bumper sticker on his car. She flagged him down and the two had a cordial conversation.
“We talked for like three minutes,” Peralta recalled. “And she said that it was great that I was involved in politics. She told me that after the election I should come over to her office. She said she could see see me participating in politics for the city of New York or Brooklyn.”
Ultimately, that’s what Peralta wants to do. He wants to create a dialogue between liberals and Trump loyalists. While he wants to find common ground with Bushwick residents, Peralta believes Trump isn’t fairly represented in the media and that some liberals lack honest news sources.
“A lot of people only have negative things about Trump being fed to them through the TV,” Peralta said. “If they analyze the facts, do research, and see the good and the bad, then they’ll have an honest opinion about who Trump is.”
Trump fan or not, Peralta says he is just a positive person who wants to see the county progress and be in a better situation.
“This is the best county in the world, and I want to make sure it stays like that.”