Republicans

Mystery man who handed Trump envelope after speech identified

TV's Andy Levy reports from the 'Red Eye' News Deck

 

The strangest sidebar of President Donald Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night involved a mysterious man handing an envelope to the president as he was glad-handing lawmakers on his way out of the House chamber. 

Now, the mystery man has been identified -- as former New York Republican Rep. Daniel Frisa. 

Fox News confirmed Frisa's identity after multiple inquiries, but that only answers one of the many questions surrounding the incident. 

As Trump was about to depart the House chamber, the person now identified as Frisa approached him from behind. 

"Good job, Mr. President. Nice job," Frisa said. He then attempted to hand the president an envelope, saying, "This is from your friend Noach Dear."

It is odd for someone to hand something off to the President after an address to Congress. Sources told Fox News security officials had told the president not to accept papers or other items from lawmakers while in the House chamber, and it was not immediately clear whether Trump took the envelope from Frisa. It was also not clear what was in the envelope. 

Frisa served one term in the House, where he represented New York's 4th District — encompassing part of Nassau County on Long Island. Elected in 1994 as part of the "Republican revolution," Frisa was defeated in his re-election bid by Democrat Carolyn McCarthy, who retired in 2015.

Former lawmakers are allowed on the House floor. However, Frisa was not a prominent figure during his one term in Congress and no one initially recognized him Tuesday night.  

Dear, a former New York City Councilman who represented districts in Brooklyn, has a relationship with Trump dating back to the 1990s. He assisted Trump with city zoning issues, and the future president attended at least one fundraiser for Dear.

On one occasion when Trump ran into red tape in Manhattan, Dear proclaimed, “If Manhattan doesn’t want the project, Donald, you can build in my district."

In 2015, Dear was elected to a 15-year term as a judge on the New York Supreme Court, the state's trial-level court.

Frisa argued a foreclosure case involving Wells Fargo in front of Dear as recently as last November, but it's unclear why Frisa could potentially have served as an emissary between the president and the judge.

Efforts by Fox to reach Frisa and Dear have been unsuccessful.

Fox News' Virginia Nicolaidis contributed to this report.

Griff Jenkins currently serves as a Washington-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2003 as a radio producer.