Trump Voters on President Trump's First Few Weeks

Feb 16, 2017

We are one month into the Trump administration and ample attention has been paid to the growing activism and protests against it.  But what about those who support President Trump? WMRA's Jessie Knadler caught up with a handful of Trump voters in Rockbridge County to find out how they think the new President is doing. 

Even as the Trump White House is engulfed in a fresh round of controversy this week, the Trump voters I talked to stand by their President.

Caroline Bones is a student studying politics and business administration at Washington and Lee University in Lexington.

CAROLINE BONES:  I’m getting ready to take the LSAT now. Law school is the next step.

Bones was a big Rubio supporter during the primaries but became fascinated by Trump. Here’s what she likes about what he’s trying to do:

BONES:  I think the biggest thing is….the willingness to cut the size of the federal government. I think it’s huge. I think it’s unwieldy. Many of the ten richest counties in the United States are around the Washington DC area. Frankly, I find that unacceptable. The federal hiring freeze and things like that have given me hope.

But she does have concerns.

BONES:  So far, his administration really has NOT gotten the PR right. They’re not expressing themselves clearly.

She brought up the resignation this week of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

BONES:  I think that could have been foreseen and prevented. They’re maybe not checking all the boxes.

I asked her about the mood on campus since the inauguration.

BONES: This is a very conservative university but even I had to worry about holding my tongue. I went to an event that was supposed to be kind of an open dialogue on both sides but it was kind of Democrats ganging up on Republicans. It’s the only time in this university I felt uncomfortable and unwelcome in an environment.

Jacob Thayer is a friend of Bones and is a second year law student at W&L. He actually wants to run for President one day. His Instagram handle is @futureprez36.

THAYER:  The things I’ve liked are, he’s probably been most aggressive in completing his campaign goals or trying to live up to his campaign goals right out of the gate.

Renegotiating trade deals and increasing border security are two he mentioned. He also likes some of Trump’s Cabinet picks, such as Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Chief John Kelly.

But he’s concerned by the shakeups at the National Security Council. Specifically, Trump’s decision to demote both the director of national intelligence – DNI -- and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a distinct break from tradition.

THAYER:  That was the one decision where I just didn’t get it. It was concerning to me, I couldn’t see any good argument for taking the DNI off.

As for the growing activism on the left, Thayer says bring it on.

THAYER:  I think it’s good to have that kind of questioning government mentality. A lot of Republicans were just as concerned when Obama became president and it was a different conversation in the sense of the vitriol that Republicans had was directed toward President Obama, Senator Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Whereas some of what I’ve seen from the left has been much more, if you voted for Trump, if you have anything to do with him, you’re a racist, xenophobic, a misogynistic, the whole list of “ist” words. I think as soon as we start trying to say half the country is either with me or completely against me, it’s going to rip the country to shreds and that’s very unhealthy.

Finally, there’s Mike Lowry. At various points in his life, Lowry was a newspaper reporter, a stockbroker and a teacher. He and his wife have lived all over the world before settling in Rockbridge County. He actually used to be a Democrat. Lowry admits that Trump is not perfect.

LOWRY:  He’s gotta learn to quit reacting to every negative comment. Move on, move past it.

But he thinks the media isn’t helping. He cited Trump’s immigration ban as but one example.

LOWRY:           It’s on seven countries, six of which have failed governments, really no governments and outside of Iran have any solid government at all. Trump wants to restrict for, what, 90 days the admission of people until we can kinda start vetting them. This is not a ‘Muslim ban’ as is being put by the media. It’s not.

I asked him what do Trump opponents not understand about people like Mike Lowry.

LOWRY:  About me? I don’t think they care about me. No. I said that as a joke but it’s probably true. I don’t think the left cares about me. I don’t think the left cares about anybody except people who think like they do and I think that’s one of the things that came home in this last election. The Democratic party stopped talking to people. They started talking to groups and they won their groups but they didn’t win the American people.

But then, neither did Trump, who lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 2.9 million votes.

For WMRA News, I’m Jessie Knadler.