Comey, Russia, Health Care … What Trump Voters Think Now
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because it’s OK to get out of the bubble.
As part of a regular series, OZY profiles some of those who voted for Trump, asking them why they backed him, how they think he is doing, what they expect from him next and which policies they would like to see him change or double down on. These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.
Guzin Karides, 50, retired attorney, Virginia Beach
I’m watching. The wall can’t be a promise he breaks. It doesn’t have to be unbroken, but it has to be more than we have now. You can’t just say border protection because the next president could change that. You can’t out-vote a wall. It will always be there.
I’m Turkish. My father came over as an immigrant. And when he became a citizen, he wanted others to do what he did. Growing up, we spent a lot of time overseas, in Ankara, Istanbul, Trabzon. He was Muslim his whole life, but he wanted to make sure that when you come over here, you keep your faith, keep your culture, but you needed to assimilate. That stuck with me.
The hysteria over Russia was manufactured to suit the purposes of Hillary and explain her loss. That Kushner wanted to set up a back channel? Look back at all the things Obama and Bush did with back channels. I don’t consider that to be a treasonous act. By doing this, they’ve tied Trump’s hands — any time he tries to negotiate, it will now be seen as Russian interference. And that’s unfortunate.
Phillip Bell, 36, New Jersey native *and lobbyist for a first amendment group*
My gut reaction is that I was happy with the firing of [former FBI Director James] Comey. In terms of talking about Russian connections, that to me is a reaction of those who lost an election. I went and voted for Trump and a host of Republicans — nobody came to the booth with me and pushed the button. The notion that the Russian hacking happened is ridiculous, and those investigations should have ended yesterday.
I do not believe the Black community is different than anyone else in America. So whatever policies are good for white people are good for Black people. And whatever policies are bad for Asian people are also bad for Black people. Since what he’s articulated is an America First policy, I think that’s good for everybody — including me.
Anthony Ferrari, 57, sales VP at an environmental consultancy, Cumming, Georgia
When Trump fell into the race, it felt like a breath of fresh air. I like the individuals he’s selected for cabinet posts and his stance on abortion — that’s most important to me. Until we can solve that issue, or reverse that unjust law, our nation is going to have difficulty in recovering. Not only do laws have to change, but hearts have to change.
I’m also not a fan of imprisonment. I hope that Trump gets rid of all these minor drug offenses. Prison isn’t the answer to our problems: I think rehabilitation is. When you have so many people incarcerated, so many cases where the judges and prosecutors are overbooked, you have to look at it and say — what are we doing, and is it solving the problem? It becomes a money-making operation where people profit off other people’s misery.
Amanda Head, thirtysomething, radio host of The Hollywood Conservative, Los Angeles
I’m an equal-opportunity praiser and criticizer. I criticized him for the first health care bill — it didn’t have a whole lot people were looking for, primarily cross-state competition — and for not firing enough people in “draining the swamp.” I like his Supreme Court pick and that he’s followed the direction of General Mattis to be more aggressive in dealing with terrorism.
Next they really, really need to focus on tax reform. Even dissenters who will never like him, I think their vitriol and hatred toward him will start ending once people recognize they are bringing home more money. Economically, that’s one of the best ways to help women too. I hope he sticks to paid maternity leave, which he said he would include. And I appreciate the work Planned Parenthood does on mammograms and birth control — although I’m obviously not for taxpayer-funded abortions.
Mike Lujan, 42, California native working as an HR consultant, Washington, D.C.
Repeal Obamacare is what I wanted him to do. And the bill they now have is basically Obamacare Lite. One of the main promises was to allow people to sell health insurance across state lines — and that’s nowhere to be found.
I’m Mexican, and I wanted him to build the wall. People are looking at it from a point of race, and the idea that borders should be free and open, but I look at it from a point of money. You can’t continue to allow the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the country and expect the system not to collapse. It’s a fiscal responsibility over the racial or xenophobic issue that they are trying to make it. It’s true the wall is going to cost a lot of money. But if you do build a wall, the amount of money you’re going to spend on a wall is going to be saved by the amount of money that taxpayers won’t have to pay to fund illegal health care, social plans, welfare.
I wanted to see a business way of running the government, instead of normal politicians in there. He’s not living up to my expectations with the budget he passed. He funded Planned Parenthood, which he said he wouldn’t do. Unfortunately, we’re seeing the same type of thing as when Arnold Schwarzenegger came into office. That totally sucked because he didn’t do what he said he would do. And now I see Trump getting caught up in the political part and not doing what he said he would.
It’s the walking back that’s really going to start to negate my support.
Kelly N., 45, York, Pennsylvania
Comey deserved to be fired. When he stepped in last year and exonerated Hillary Clinton, he should have been fired then. I think he shouldn’t have reopened the email case in November because it gave the Democrats an excuse for Hillary Clinton losing.
Where are the Russia reports coming from? Nobody trusts The New York Times or The Washington Post. They are not based on documents and reports. They are based on sources [whose names] they are not providing. … It’s like Mean Girls on steroids. It’s not OK for our children to act [like] that; why would it be OK for the press to work that way? It’s truly a tabloid, because they want to take him down.
I’m not the president. I don’t try to second-guess everything he does.
Kory Boone, 35, IT professional and chair of Maryland Young Republicans, Baltimore
I believe what the president says about Russia: It’s a witch hunt. There has been no hard evidence, no smoking gun, nothing to that nature. I think this is just a way that Democrats and liberals are trying to make the president and his agenda look bad. For Black voters, he’s trying to bring more jobs to the inner city. Also look at what he did a few months ago, bringing the historical Black college presidents to the Oval Office. As conservatives, we appreciate our Constitution, our freedom of the press, speech, religion. All these liberties that we have. I don’t think Trump has been an enemy [to those]. He’s been unfairly treated by the press — stories about his wife smacking his hand make headlines. But what he did with the executive order to allow pastors of churches to endorse politicians was him promoting religious liberty.
Roger High, 54, sheep farmer, Richwood, Ohio
His first 100 days were good. He’s stirring things up in Washington, D.C. I like that he’s trying to change health care, trying to work with other countries, trying to protect our country from invasion or from terrorism.
He’s been helpful in the agriculture industry. But what concerns most of our farmers right now is his stance on trade. That’s a little scary because we in agriculture rely a lot on NAFTA, and we’re sending a lot of pork, beef, corn, soybean [and] grain production out of this country. And if NAFTA were to be eliminated, it would be devastating for our farmers. If he damaged agriculture at all — especially through bad trade deals or regulations — I think my support for him would fall pretty quickly. We need NAFTA; we really needed TPP. That’s the thing: The population that elected him into office could be the population that he damages the most.