Why you should care
Because this sums up what some of your neighbors are thinking.
They called themselves the Silent Majority, a nod to Richard Nixon’s moniker for those Americans who quietly supported his agenda — and last November, those voters emerged loudly and shook up D.C. Now, as President Donald Trump continues to combat his critics, there are those who are thrilled, even invigorated, by his political sparring.
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.
Jody Gillis, a 44-year-old realtor from Suwanee, Georgia
My husband and I have always been small business owners. Trump comes from a background of not being a politician but a business owner and a builder. So he understands how those regulations hurt the business owner. Because instead of reinvesting in our company and creating jobs to stimulate the economy, we’re paying 50 to 60 percent of what we make to the government — and that’s sad.
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I like the fact that he’s appointed a Supreme Court judge that will rule on the Constitution and not legislate from the bench. I did feel sorry for the people who couldn’t actually get back here that maybe should have gotten back, but I think [the immigration ban] was a strong, bold move on his part to immediately reduce illegals and terrorist attacks on American soil. I hope he addresses the taxes. Next thing is Obamacare — it’s just a majorly disgusting program. We have six kids combined, but three are on our plan. We went from paying $465 a month to $1,200 a month.
Conrad Quagliaroli, a 74-year-old retired financial planner from Woodstock, Georgia
I voted for Trump because I thought only he and Ted Cruz would do what needed to be done to change the direction of the country by ripping out by the roots everything Obama put in place.
Overall, I think Trump is doing great … so does the stock market. His greatest success so far is the Cabinet nominees he has chosen. He fell short with rolling out the refugee restriction; I agree with the restriction, but thought it was poorly executed. I expect Trump to give the Republicans in Congress a spinal transplant and get them to do both tax reform and repeal Obamacare by the end of the year. I like the course he is charting, and would not change any of it.
Lynn Goble, a 57-year-old retired farmer and store owner from Lubbock, Texas
It was a vote against, not a vote for him. I don’t like the man. But I hate the Clintons more.
I’m so proud of him for wanting to turn back NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’ve lost industries here. The cotton industry has gone down, and I owned interest in one of the world’s largest cotton mills in Littlefield, Texas. We had to shut it down because NAFTA broke us. Our culture feels this. It’s not equal. It should be fair on both sides.
Honestly, I don’t know anything right now that I’d have him change. I don’t like the way he’s talked about countries. I don’t think he’s done right with popping off about Russia and Mexico like he did. I just think he could have been a bit more tactful about it.
Pat Carroll, an “over-50” writer from Grass Valley, California
Trump is a leader in every respect, but he excels in handling the press, which is woefully ill equipped to deal with him. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein inspired me to major in journalism, but I am sickened by the appalling lack of respect for the basic principle of objectivity I see on parade every day.
What do you expect next? Just look at the “Contract With the American Voter” that then-candidate Trump laid out last year for his first 100 days and see what remains to be done, because as POTUS, Trump is plowing through the list with amazing speed. I expect he will soon lift restrictions on the production of $50 trillion worth of shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal. That’s in the contract and one he has not yet completed. I also look forward to seeing the media meltdown when Trump cancels all federal funding to sanctuary cities, which is in the plan.
President Trump needs to make e-Verify mandatory nationwide, and severely fine employers who knowingly or unknowingly hire undocumented workers. The fine must be harsh enough that an employer does not simply pay the fine as a cost of doing business, so that it can continue to hire cheap labor. So far, Trump has emphasized the undocumented worker as the problem. But if growers and businesses are forced to abandon the undocumented worker as a labor resource, many undocumented will either leave the U.S. voluntarily or — better yet — start the process to obtain a green card or visa that will enable them to work in the U.S. legally. E-Verify will force companies to do the right thing, which is to pay more to train and hire workers. If that means I have to pay $10 a pound for summer cherries, so be it.
Katrina Rodgers, a 37-year-old executive secretary and pastor’s daughter from Charlotte, North Carolina
It’s too early to gauge everything. We’re not giving him time to get in and settle in and try to work out some of the problems. I don’t agree with everything I see, but I’m hesitant to cast a judgment call. I’m remaining optimistic at this point. I’m still in his corner.
If there were anything I would want him to change, it’s to curb some of [his tweeting]. I get why he’s going that route, but it brings about more of a frustration and a platform of debate, instead of acceptance of letting him release his messages to the wider public.
Seth Weathers, a 31-year-old political strategist and former Trump state director from Atlanta
The Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch is certainly one of the highlights. Trump came through exactly as he told people he would … and perhaps this will forever shut up the Never Trumpers, who were so fearful. Myself and a lot of supporters are very happy about the fast pace of all the things he’s pushing out, essentially fulfilling campaign promises. One area supporters are looking forward to is getting engaged on repealing Obamacare. Once Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is settled in, it will give the opportunity to move forward in a much more aggressive manner.
For purely entertainment purposes, I hope he does more weekly press conferences. That just made my day so much more enjoyable. I say that jovially, but one thing you saw from the campaign is that people loved hearing directly from Trump, and I think that had been missing a little bit. Going directly to the people is what got Trump to where he is, and it’s something he’ll need to keep up with.
Ray Reynolds, a 56-year-old photography and construction business owner from Martinsville, Virginia
Trump is way ahead of what he promised. What Trump has done in less than 30 days it would have taken Congress three years or more: getting immigration fixes started, talking about insurance. Nobody said America does not want immigrants. We do not like illegal immigrants and criminals here. I agree that it was a mistake when people with visas and green cards were held back. Maybe that wasn’t right, but Trump was trying to do what was best for the security of the country for just 90 days. This was meant not to hurt anybody, but to protect anybody in America.
You know what he could do better? I think Trump needs to pass a law protecting business people from rioters and protesters. Anybody who does protesting that destroys businesses or hurts people, they should go to jail.
Naida Wyckoff, a 69-year-old grandmother from Chesapeake, Virginia
I’ve been cautiously optimistic. Sometimes I think Trump should dial it down a little bit, but that’s part of his personality.
My pro-life stance was a big part of voting for him, but also I was hoping that because he seemed to be listening to the religious viewpoint, that it could be an opportunity — for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to live a Christian life and not have more restraints put on that.
I don’t think he got a fair shake with the media. A lot of the more-left thought he was a joke, and they weren’t paying attention. I don’t like what they did with his daughter, Ivanka; I think there is a lot of bullying on the left, but I think Trump should not have mentioned her fashion line. But that’s what he is: He’s a dad. He’s going to do that.
*Eugene S. Robinson, Daniel Malloy and Leslie Nguyen-Okwu contributed reporting