Developer and sanitation company owner Sidney Torres IV, who has flirted publicly with the idea of running for New Orleans mayor, donated $50,000 through his company to President Donald Trump’s January inauguration — a move unlikely to go over well with voters in the heavily Democratic city.
More than a dozen Louisiana businesses or residents collectively donated more than $1 million toward Trump's swearing-in celebration, records show. Torres’ firm, IV Capital LLC of New Orleans, was among the largest local contributors.
Reached by phone Thursday, Torres acknowledged the donation but said he wrote the check only because his mother, Alma Torres, is a big Trump supporter and wanted to attend the inauguration and related events.
Sidney Torres said he was told it would cost him to get her there. “She did go, and I did donate to that cause for my mother,” he said.
Torres demurred when asked his view of Trump's presidency, saying it was too soon to tell. He praised Trump’s decision earlier this month to strike Syria with missiles after U.S. officials said that country’s government launched a chemical weapons attack on civilians, calling Trump “somebody who gets things done.”
President Donald Trump's inauguration drew a record-setting $107 million in donations, and r…
Such statements, and the donation itself, may not endear Torres to the city's overwhelmingly Democratic voters. Trump got just 15 percent of the votes New Orleanians cast in the November election, compared with 81 percent for Hillary Clinton.
Although Torres is a registered Democrat, another Democrat running against him in the fall election could use his actions to question his party loyalty or otherwise attack him, said Ed Chervenak, a University of New Orleans political science professor.
“Donald Trump — he’s such a lightning rod for Democrats, and whoever is donating to him is going to be a lightning rod for criticism,” Chervenak said.
Torres on Thursday condemned Trump’s attacks on former President Barack Obama and his fiery tweets disparaging dissenters. He also sought to highlight the thousands of dollars that Torres and his various companies donated in 2015 to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.
Four state lawmakers. Two City Council members. One current and one former judge. The distri…
And he also noted that his father, Sidney Torres III, is a big supporter of Hillary and Bill Clinton.
“What makes it great for me, is that I get to look at it from both sides, from two people that I love, and make my own decisions and judgments on what I feel,” he said.
Torres' donation to the Trump inauguration could add to the demographic challenges he's already likely to face if he runs. Torres is of Isleño descent, meaning that he is a white candidate in a city where roughly 60 percent of the population is African-American.
The field already has two declared black candidates: former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
Another rumored candidate, Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, is also African-American. Charbonnet will step down from her judge’s seat on Friday, a sign many observers believe indicates a mayoral run.
Others weighing a run are state Rep. Walt Leger III and state Sens. Troy Carter and JP Morrell. Though City Councilman Jason Williams, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro have been mentioned as potential contenders, all seem to be leaning against the idea.
Trump's inauguration pulled in a record-setting $107 million in donations from contributors nationwide.
Of that, roughly $1 million came from Louisiana, where the biggest donations were a pair of $250,000 contributions from two funds controlled by Shane and Chad Guidry of Harvey Gulf International Marine.
Other New Orleanians who contributed to Trump's inauguration were David Wills, who gave $25,000, and Edward Boettner and Maurice “Pres” Kabacoff, who gave $2,500 apiece.
Staff writer Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report.