Rosalind Helderman for WaPo.
White House officials said the president has railed privately about the New Jersey city’s election to his advisers. And conservative groups have launched their own efforts to spotlight the problems in Paterson, including Judicial Watch and the Honest Elections Project, which is supported by attorney Leonard Leo, a close Trump ally.
But those involved in the Paterson case said the president is vastly oversimplifying what took place in a local election, using it to serve his own political purposes and overstating the extent to which problems in their city serve as some kind of national cautionary tale.
“He’s not telling the entire truth,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, a political rival of those who were charged and a Democrat who has held the nonpartisan office since 2018. “But then again, he’s Donald Trump.”
In fact, they say the alleged scheme in Paterson was a complicated one made possible by a series of unique circumstances that would be difficult to reproduce in other cities, much less on a national scale