I love Trump. Hes doing what he said. Presidents supporters keep the faith
Womens Marches and widespread criticism of the Muslim ban have not dented the loyalty of Trump voters
Cast-iron hooks, childrens vinyl records, classic food packages, tobacco baskets, vintage-style olive buckets and a rotary-dial telephone fill the shelves at James and Jess House of Goods. The antiques store opened two years ago, styling itself as rustic, hipster, chic with a twee strapline: Mostly old with a little new.
If the House of Goods was in Washington DC, it would be a decent demographic bet that its owners voted for Hillary Clinton. But it is 75 miles away in Washington County, which Donald Trump won handily. And while the capital city has been roiled by protests since Trump moved into the White House, from where James and Jess are sitting he is doing just fine.
I love Trump, James Zawatski said. I give him credit for doing what he said he was going to do; a lot of politicians dont. Im 47 and I never voted in my life but I did this year. We needed someone with a set of balls to do what needs to be done. Im tired of those liberals.
Trumps asteroid-like impact on Washington DC has caused bewilderment, consternation, disorientation, puzzlement and anger. Democratic politicians have been knocked off balance by a brash adversary while Republicans are struggling to adapt to an unpredictable ally. The media have rained criticism. Residents of DC where Clinton beat Trump by 90.9% of the vote to 4.1% express their mortification and fears. And last months Womens March on the capital was a dramatic statement of anti-Trump resistance.
But across the frontline of Americas increasingly tribal politics in Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, the perspective is turned on its head. Whereas critics see Trumps travel bans as un-American and sowing chaos at airports, supporters see him as keeping them safe; where critics see him blowing up foreign policy as he spars with Australia and slaps sanctions on Iran, supporters see him getting tough; where critics see him firing the acting attorney general and trampling on the constitution, supporters see him boldly smashing the old order. And where activists protest, columnists fulminate and millions recoil in fear of a world spinning towards catastrophe, supporters dismiss them as liberal cry babies and praise Trump as the first politician to keep his campaign promises. They see him not as a rampaging rhinoceros but a straight-talking strongman.
His plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border is one example of this worldview complementarity. I love immigrants, I love Mexicans, but theres a way to do it, theres a procedure, said Zawatski, himself descended from Italian immigrants. These people come and theyre entitled to more than me whos busting his ass seven days a week. Were a great country but were being taken advantage of.
Personally I wouldnt spend money on the wall. Id just shoot them as they come over. Then they wouldnt come.
Zawatski had little sympathy with the hundreds of thousands who took part in the Womens Marches, many of whom wore pink pussy hats and carried placards condemning Trump over his past boast about feeling able to grab women by the pussy. He does not merely turn a blind eye to Trumps misogyny but condones it: What man never grabbed a womans pussy? What man doesnt talk in the locker room about what he did to a woman the night before? Women do that too. Were all human. His wife, Jess, 35, agreed: Its a guy thing. I know James talks like that among guys. So I dont hold it against Trump.
The Womens March, she added, was the stupidest thing ever because some were saying theyre being treated unequally. Women can stand up and go after what they want. Men arent standing in the way.