NEW YORK, NY – He didn’t of course know at the time that President Trump would later lose his re-election bid. So as he left Miami Airport and drove his rental car to his destination of the Northern Florida neighborhood called Little Haiti this past mid-October, Reverend Daniel Ulysse felt he was the right person, at the right time, at the right place.
An American of Haitian birth, the pastor of his own French language dominant large evangelical Christian Church in Brooklyn, New York, a married homeowner in that borough’s racially and ethnically diverse Coney Island community and a long-time Republican activist, Ulysse, 62, had in early 2019 founded two GOP affiliated national organizations, the National Caribbean American Republican Assembly (NCARA) and the Haitian American Republican Assembly (HARA).
Both organizations, had been formed by Ulysse for the same purpose: To help President Trump, who had only won an estimated 20% of the approximately 700,000 Haitian Americans in 2016, significantly increase that number in 2020.
To achieve that goal, the best place for him to be just two weeks before election day, November 3, was Little Haiti and its surrounding areas, or so the Reverend explained to me during an in-person interview I conducted with him (following Covid-19 regulations) in my Long Island office last Wednesday.
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“I knew as a member of the Trump Re-election Campaign team that for Trump to win the crucial state of Florida he would have to maintain or hopefully improve upon his 2016 performance in the Haitian community,” stated Ulysse in an upbeat tone, even in this post mortem period of Trump’s defeat.
“To accomplish that, I knew the best place for me to be was Little Haiti, where 250,000 Haitian Americans live and among the surrounding counties of Broward, Miami Dade and Palm Beach, where an additional 150,000 Haitian immigrants call home,” Ulysse added.
Even in light of Trump’s eventual loss, Ulysse told me that as a Haitian American and a Black man, he remains thankful to Trump for improving the financial conditions of people of his own ethnic and racial backgrounds. “Of course, I have nothing but praise for President Trump and a profound regret that he was not re-elected,” stated Ulysses. “Under President Trump, the median household income of Blacks, including Haitians, grew to the highest level ever recorded… In addition, Trump’s economic policies, drove Black unemployment and poverty rates to their lowest level in the history of America.”
Ulysse recalled that when he provided those facts to the Haitian community through his daily appearances on local Haitian radio and television shows and by campaigning on the streets, avenues and in the malls of Little Haiti, he was encouraged by the response he received.
“Based upon the positive reactions I was receiving from my radio and tv appearances, and from talking to literally thousands of people on the street, I became convinced that Trump would win Florida, and that his same message of economic growth for all Americans would lead to his winning the White House again,” Ulysse recalled.
While Ulysse’s optimism about Trump’s chances of winning Florida proved well founded (Trump defeated Joe Biden in the state by a 51.2% to 47.9% margin, improving upon his 49% to 47.8% victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 while maintaining his previous 20% support among the Haitian electorate), Trump, as we all now know, did not win the White House again.
Yet, as we sat in my office, on Wednesday, January 27, exactly one week after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Ulysse told me that he remains optimistic about the future of the Republican Party – either with or without Trump as its official leader.
“Whether or not President Trump remains the leader of the party, I believe that if the Republican Party does a better job of branding and explaining its core governing philosophy and key policies. This includes creating prosperity through free enterprise capitalism, securing our borders, increasing funding for our military and police, achieving energy independence through fracking and other technological advances and supporting our key allies abroad such as Israel, India and Japan, we will win back both Houses of Congress in 2022 and regain the Presidency in 2024,” Ulysse postulated.
Not a small goal, but, Ulysse, who proudly proclaimed that he has always viewed the proverbial half empty glass of water as being half full, told me that he plans to continue to utilize NCARA and HARA, which combined have an impressive 20,000 members, to spread that message to American minority communities across the entire nation, which, he believes, could serve to help Republicans win the majority of future elections.
“The 2020 election was not their [NCARA and HARA] end, but rather their beginning. During the next two election cycles, we will continue from where we left off in 2020, which will be to have our members continue to educate minority communities, including Latino’s, Asians and Blacks, on how Republican’s fiscal policies create better jobs and more business opportunities for them and all other Americans. And conversely, how Democrat policies create only lower incomes and an endless economic dependence on the federal government… That message, I believe, will change the nation’s political makeup, and the Republicans will become the majority party in America once again,” Ulysse asserted.
Still, Ulysse informed me that in early December he formed a third, similar organization to achieve that same, as well as another goal. “I just formed a new organization called the Republican Eyes on Haiti. Its goals are to supplement the work we are doing with the other two groups [NCARA and HARA], and also to help foster closer economic, political and cultural ties between America and Haiti,” Ulsysse explained.
Rev. Daniel Ulysse speaks at QVGOP Holiday Party
While running those three organizations and at the same time serving as the pastor of a large church would seemingly be more than most mortals could handle, an indefatigable Ulysse is currently actively engaged in still another project – this one focusing upon a white minority group. “I have been blessed to have many Jewish Republican, committed Zionist friends in NYC and Florida. Working together as an informal but cohesive group, which we soon plan to turn into a foundation, we have reached out to many Jewish Democrats,” Ulysse stated.
“Our purpose is,” he continued, “to explain to them that the Democratic Party- though still supported by a majority of Jewish voters – is no longer a friend of the state of Israel. Rather, it is only the Republican Party which can be counted on to support our only true friend and only democratic nation in the middle east, the Jewish State of Israel. We are also spreading that same message to the many non-Jewish supporters of Israel, including many pro-Israel Haitians, still in the Democratic Party.”
Ulysse contended that his own religious and ethnic background makes him well suited to disseminate that message. “As a Christian, I believe in God’s covenant with Abraham in which he bestowed the land of Israel to him and his descendants. And I also know that Israel is the only nation in the world whose citizens live on the same land, speak and write the same language, and pray to the same God as did their ancestors three millennium ago,” stated Ulysse.
“And as an American of Haitian descent,” he elaborated, “I am proud to note that Haiti was one of the first countries in the world to cast its vote in The United Nations in 1947 in favor of the UN partition of Palestine, leading to the creation of the state of Israel. And, I am thankful to note,” Ulysse added further, “that in the wake of the 2010 tragic earthquake in Port-au-Prince [Haiti’s capital], which killed more than 300,000 Haitians and left a million more homeless and destitute, Israel provided Haiti with life-saving search and rescue teams to search for remaining survivors, built field hospitals and sent doctors who successfully treated thousands of injured survivors.”
As the 60-minute interview was coming to its end, Ulysse told me that he had somehow failed to mention the most significant people in his life. “My wife, two daughters and granddaughter are the most important part of my life… All that I have attempted to do to make our country and the world a better place has been made possible by the love, support and inspiration they have given to me,” he stated.
Concerning Ulysse and his family it could be said that the apple does not fall far from the tree: His oldest daughter is a registered nurse and a veteran of the US Navy; his youngest daughter is finishing her undergraduate degree and plans to start medical school next fall. And his wife is a respected New York rheumatologist, who 30 years ago founded a still on-going organization, the Aesclepius Medical Society (AMS), which provides various forms of assistance to foreign doctors.
I was not surprised to learn that due to their mammoth work load, the couple rarely takes vacations. However, they do find the time to take one trip per year out of the country. “My wife and I go on yearly missions to the Caribbean. She provides medical care as a physician, and I provide pastoral care as a reverend,” Ulysse explained.
You would expect no less from the Reverend and his wife.