Florham Park Diner Patron Challenges Webber to Disavow Donald Trump


FLORHAM PARK _ Talk to strangers in a Jersey diner and you never know what you’re going to get. 

Jay Webber, like many candidates before him, experienced that Tuesday morning when he dropped by the Florham Park Diner. 

Webber, who to his everlasting credit (in my view) is an ardent Mets’ fan, zeroed in on a woman with a small child outfitted in a Mets’ jacket. Neat.

What was even better for Webber is that the woman, Patricia Newman of Whippany, said she liked the Republican candidate for Congress in the 11th District.

“I just like what he is saying,” she said. “Even his commercials are good. He doesn’t seem like a phony.”

And what was even better still for Webber is that Newman said she is not a loyal Republican. In fact, she said she voted for Obama.

An Obama supporter planning to cast a vote for the conservative Webber? Go figure.

After that,  things went in another direction.

Webber quickly found himself involved in spirited debate with a man at the counter. This was Adam Shanker. If you think the name rings a bell, you’re right. His father was Albert Shanker, a vocal and sometimes militant head of the New York City teachers union from the 1960’s to the 1990’s.

“We’re in a bad place,” Shanker said. And he challenged Webber to disavow or disassociate himself from Donald Trump.

That’s not going to happen. Trump has formally endorsed Webber.

“I run on my own views,” Webber said.

His debate partner asked if Webber wanted to ban “automatic weapons.”

Webber said he supports banning them.

Here we enter the world of technicalities and nuance.

“Automatic weapons,” like the machine guns gangsters use in old movies, are essentially banned now. 

The debate is really about semi-automatic weapons like the.AR-15 rifle used in the recent Pittsburgh mass shooting. They are also called “assault rifles” and are banned in New Jersey.

There was a federal ban as well, but the prohibition ended in 2004. And that is the contemporary issue – whether that ban should be reinstated.

The men agreed to disagree and Shanker left. Webber noted that Shanker lives in Short Hills, which is outside the 11th District.

“A Malinowski voter,” Webber quipped, referring to the District 7 Democratic congressional candidate Tom Malinowski. 

I asked how “Congressman Webber” would vote on an assault weapons ban.

He indicated he would oppose it.

Webber explained that views on guns differ widely from state-to-state and that such locales as Texas, Wyoming and Montana should not impose their views on New Jersey. And likewise, New Jersey should not impose its gun views on the good folks of – using Webber’s example – Austin, Cheyenne and Butte.

The idea that gun laws are the province of the states and not the federal government is the core of Webber’s small government philosophy. Whether that position is accepted these days – especially as mass shootings seem to continue unabated – is why we have elections.

Later, I spoke to Bob Swanson, of Florham Park, who said he hated to admit he is a registered Republican.

As he enjoyed a blueberry muffin, Swanson said his wife is volunteering on the campaign of Democrat Mikie Sherrill.

Lamenting the state of the GOP under Trump, Swanson said, “I’m sick and tired of the Republicans.”

By this time, Webber had left, which probably was fortuitous.

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3 responses to “Florham Park Diner Patron Challenges Webber to Disavow Donald Trump”

  1. Automatic weapons have been heavily regulated since the 1930’s and virtually banned since the 80’s. If you still don’t know that, then there is nothing that can help you.

  2. wonder if this liberal would disavow Obama Guns and bibles and uncivilized Hillary call any that disagree with her deplorable, “Complicit in Evil” Booker, or the calls for hatred and violence from Pelosi, booker, waters, etc?

  3. 400,000 died of drugs under Obama, another 300,000 suicides….vs around 80-90,000 from gun violence. over 50% of that gun violence comes from young black males which are 5% of the population….who mostly kill other blacks. The quotes 30,000 gun deaths a year are 2/3 suicides…which can be accomplished via a number of methods. But Liberals don’t want debate and facts….they want FAKE NEWS, HATE and MONEY

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