Trump’s daughter-in-law campaigns in Mayfair

(From left) Lynnette Hardaway, her sister Rochelle Richardson and Lynne Patton take part in the Trump rally in Mayfair. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prepare to debate on Sunday, a Mayfair Diner customer gave some advice to Lara Trump to pass on to her father-in-law.

“Zing her on Benghazi,” the woman told Eric Trump’s wife.

The customer was referring to the 2012 attack by an islamic militant group that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Clinton, then secretary of state, has been widely blamed for security lapses that led to the murders.

Lara Trump was at the Mayfair Diner last Friday with Lynne Patton, an executive for the Trump Organization, and Diamond and Silk, YouTube personalities from North Carolina supporting Trump’s campaign.

The ladies also crossed the street to visit the Philly Pretzel Factory, and later had lunch at the Ashburner Inn.

Lara Trump said her father-in-law is the best choice because he will address the nation’s $20 trillion debt, infrastructure, veterans, the military, taxes, child care and foreign aid and keep the U.S. a superpower.

“Donald Trump is a great man,” she said. “He really is the epitome of the American dream.”

Patton, whose YouTube video about her relationship with the Trumps has almost 4.1 million views, said Trump treats men, women and people of all races the same. She said he, not Clinton, is the change candidate. She said illegal immigrants hurt wages of Americans. She also faulted the media for its coverage of the race.

“The press is out to get us,” she said.

A Mayfair Diner worker, noticing CNN had a negative headline about Trump, quickly changed the channel to Fox News.

Diamond referred to CNN as the “Clinton News Network.”

Diamond also referred to her and her sister as “two black country girls from the sticks.” She said she and her sister aren’t part of the “Democratic plantation” of black voters. They support Trump because he is an outsider, will create jobs and will secure the Southern border.

Diamond asked, “Are we all aboard the Trump train?” as diners replied, “Choo choo.”

Democrats were not impressed with the visit.

“It’s clear that Donald Trump has absolutely no respect for women, and it’s shocking that Lara Trump, Katrina Pierson (who did not attend) and other women are letting him get away with his misogyny,” said Sinceré Harris, executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “Donald Trump is not fit to be a role model for young girls and women everywhere. He is not fit to be president of the United States.”

••

Joe Hohenstein, the Democratic candidate in the 177th Legislative District, held a news conference last week to question what his opponent, Republican Rep. John Taylor, knew of the behavior of former Philadelphia Parking Authority executive director Vince Fenerty, who resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Hohenstein labeled Fenerty’s alleged action as “disgusting” and described the board — which initially suspended Fenerty — as “beyond negligent.”

Hohenstein noted that Taylor was chairman of the Philadelphia Republican Party when the alleged abuse took place. Fenerty has been a longtime GOP ward leader, and the PPA is a patronage haven, mostly for Republicans.

Supporters held up signs reading, “PPA Must Pay,” “Don’t Reward Abuse” and “This isn’t Mad Men.”

“I am challenging John Taylor to come forward,” Hohenstein said.

Hohenstein also spoke at the PPA board’s meeting, calling Fenerty’s actions “reprehensible” and blasting the board, saying members were wrong to be “hush hush” about Fenerty.

“I don’t think you’ve done your job. Let the public know what happened,” he said.

Hohenstein is also troubled by Fenerty’s annual $154,000-plus pension, suggesting the windfall should be forfeited because of the alleged violation of trust. The money, four times as much as a ticket writer makes, will hurt the PPA budget, Hohenstein said.

“It shouldn’t be paid,” he said.

Taylor said in an email, “My opponent is in a tough position because his campaign has gained little traction and he is forced to make desperate claims. His attempt to connect me to things I have nothing to do with is right out of the desperate challenger playbook. For the record, I believe Mr. Fenerty’s behavior is reprehensible. I have a wife, two daughters and many female staff members that I would never want to see treated in such a way. As far as his attempt to make me responsible for someone else’s behavior, he couldn’t be more wrong. Unless, of course, he wants to claim responsibility for all his fellow party members (15) who have been convicted, indicted and/or gone to jail in the last three years alone.”

Ted Bordelon, Hohenstein’s campaign manager, pointed to a story in Saturday’s Daily News that quoted Taylor saying he confronted Fenerty about his behavior toward employee Sue Cornell, a former state representative.

“John Taylor’s changing story should be concerning to anyone following this scandal,” Bordelon said. “The fact Fenerty used the ‘bad shape’ of the Philadelphia GOP’s records as an excuse to get Ms. Cornell to stay after hours is troubling. John Taylor’s new account of his involvement raises questions as to why he didn’t act in a serious manner to stop Fenerty’s actions, which were apparently well known internally at the Philadelphia GOP. If John knew while he was GOP chair, why didn’t he do something? Further, as a Harrisburg legislator with knowledge of these sickening allegations, why didn’t he do something in his role as one of the most powerful Republicans in Pennsylvania?” ••

Trump stump: Lara Trump, the Republican presidential candidate’s daughter-in-law, met with supporters at the Mayfair Diner on Friday. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO