by Michele Zipp
Donald Trump had 62,979,879 Americans on his side for the 2016 Presidential election. While a seemingly large number, it was only 46.1 percent of the vote, with Hillary Clinton leading by 48.2 percent. Trump, of course, cleaned up the Electoral College and became our 45th President. As of writing this, his support has been dwindling ever since. According to the Quinnipiac and Monmouth polls, Trump’s approval rating is 38 and 39 percent respectively — disastrously low.
Amongst Republicans, however, Trump is doing well with 82 percent casting him in a favorable light. It’s clear that the president still has supporters, and we found two willing to talk to us about some of the hot button topics of the day and questions we have regarding Trump’s sanity.
I personally attempted to learn more about Trump supporters last summer when the activist group I co-founded, Resisterhood: New Paltz, had a Community Potluck where we invited people from both sides of the aisle to come together to see how much we are the same. Not one Republican or Conservative attended. To be fair, it was summer and many other activities were happening and the turn-out was low in general. Still, it was discouraging. We have to be able to talk to one another — to be able to sit and listen and truly hear each other — to build a better world. So when I began my search for Trump supporters willing to talk to me for this interview, I worried I wasn’t going to have much luck. Thankfully, friends connected me to Michael Griffin, 46, of Ohio, and Alan Moquin, 43, of California, who both voted for Trump. They had very different styles of answering our questions … but both are very telling. There were times I felt that maybe the great divide we feel isn’t so vast, but other times when I realized there may be no way to ever agree.
Michele Zipp for The Daily Banter: What made you vote for Trump?
Michael Griffin: I felt he was a better leader in terms of his business acumen for the economy.
Alan Moquin: I was not originally a Trump voter. I am “for the most part” a constitutional conservative. I was a staunch Ted Cruz supporter. Reality is much like yours maybe. We, in both parties, are corralled/swindled into a vote for the party. For me, when the 16 original runners were narrowed down to one, Trump was the winner. I didn’t like it much, but a write-in vote is a “wasted vote, right” if only we could choose for ourselves and let the best man/woman win. Fortunately that’s not how our system works. We can’t allow four or five densely populated states control the rest of the country — “stupid electoral college” — now can we? Now on to your case. Much like you…. the field was wide and Hillary got the Democrats vote. She was your nominee as Trump was mine. We’re too divided even in our own parties right?
What do you think about the Mueller probe? And why do Republicans think he is biased when he is a lifelong Republican?
MG: I think that all government is at some level biased to their agenda and that it just boiled down to he said she said.
AM: Where do I begin? John Roberts was supposed to be a conservative/Republican too but that statement has been proven wrong by a few of Roberts’ actions. Calling Mueller a Republican is laughable since he has surrounded himself with Democrats. He hires 15 lawyers “All Democrats” of the 15 lawyers/Democrats …. Seven have donated to Democratic candidates. Five of those seven donated and supported Hillary Clinton. On the flip side, not one has donated or supported any Republicans running for office. Forget Trump, but not one Republican supported financially in any way. Appears the lawyers, by support alone, lean to the Democratic side of the fence. If the shoe were on the other foot, you would conclude the same theory and as we see all over the protests would be unending! There should be a balance and there is not. It is also well know that government employees are strongly tilted to the Democratic Party. “Union support and all” no one’s going to vote to cut down their own jobs “government” and Republicans are supposed to represent less government, so do the math.
Next Mueller did hire an outside representative. He could have tried to find a Republican but instead out of the blue found another Democrat when he hired Jeannie Rhee who had already represented Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation under her private email server case or lack of investigation. Now let’s go to some conflicts of interest: Mueller and Comey being best buds. Mueller investigating his best friends firing? You don’t see a conflict there at all? Ok let’s look at being partial Mueller and Comey made a reputation acting together as ” Principled Republicans?” to resist a Bush administration program. This lead attorney general John Ashcroft a visit to the hospital room.
If James Comey were to be convicted now for any of the offenses including “improper handling of national security information.” You know, Comey’s private notes where classified information was found to be included? Sharing the notes “WITH CLASSIFIED INFO” to a friend is what is illegal. Pretty sure that friend didn’t have the proper top secret security clearance. This would hurt Mueller. If Comey were found to have engaged in criminal acts, it would undermined the claim that they were both courageously resisting improper political behavior. Mueller has a very strong interest in protecting James Comey’s reputation. Personally, I think a second investigation needs to be opened on Comey and leave Mueller in place to investigate Donald Trump collusion. No more conflict of interest. Also the special counsels really need to have a purpose. That purpose needs to be narrow verses being broad, hence charges being about finances and false statements — more about collusion and less about the money they lied about not having.
Do you think there is a Russian connection that we need to be concerned with?
MG: In this age of technology, cyber security should always be a concern.
AM: No, I am not sure where collusion is against the law. The facts are being looked into and so far it’s still under investigation. The investigation has so far A) Paul Manafort — Being charged with false statements, “no collusion” financial dealings, still no collusion and conspiracy to defraud US. B) Rick Gates — Being charged with false statements no collusion and conspiracy to defraud US. C) Michael Flynn — Being charged with false statements — no collusion. D.) George Papadopoulos — Being charged with false statements — no collusion. E) Richard Pinedo — Being charged with identity theft or fraud — no collusion. F) Alex van der Zwaan — Being charged with false statements — no collusion. See the patterns? None of the charges gets to or leads to collusion.
That is what Mueller is investigating and is supposed to be determining, but the focus is on those men’s “other problems” –mostly false statements which could be they said they ate a tuna fish sandwich but in fact instead of a tuna fish sandwich they actually ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for all any of us know. Point is, it went from collusion to obstruction all the way down to false statements, which has not yet been in any way connected to Trump. Trumps team yes, but not Trump. This investigation was set into motion as we all know to possibly being Plan B … you know the meeting in Andrew McCabe’s office? Strzok and Page text messages … yes those darn texts show a serious bias against Trump. Wonder when and if Mueller is ever going to start asking any questions involving that, let alone the unmasking of Trump and the abuse of the FISA court.
In eight years, 15,100 warrants granted and only seven were denied … doesn’t sound like a very high bar to jump over or lift. That’s a rejection rate of 0.03 percent meaning 99.97 percent approval rating. Sounds like abuse to me. This case if looked at “bought and paid for by the Clinton Campaign/DNC” involves Russians and British folks to dig up dirt on a (so far innocent man). And possibly the Plan B page and Strzok were talking about — talk about messing with an election. Talk about collusion with Russia. Everything you’re asking the Feds to find on Trump is factually found under the DNC. Do I think we should be concerned? Think people need to dig a little deeper, personally.
Did his comment “grab them by the pussy” and his locker room talk bother you?
MG: The disrespectful comments are offensive and should not have been said.
AM: Quick answer is I don’t care about the grab them by the pussy comment. Have you seen the costumes [worn] at Women’s Marches? It’s irrelevant. We all know he has questionable morals. He has cheated on his first wife and very possibly on every wife he has had. Power does that to people. Doesn’t make it right but look at all the “Me Too” casualties. Many are diehard Democrats.
I do not blame Hillary for taking Weinstein’s money or Oprah Winfrey for being such a good friend to him. It’s power and greed. They wanted what he had — his money, his power and his influence. Wouldn’t surprise me if he slept with the pornstar. What he does on his personal time is his business. Might I add it was as a private citizen and not in the White House. That was the Democrats answer for Clinton’s behavior in the “Oral” office right? We are reaping what we have sown. We have tolerated and pushed this behavior for far too many years yet we are surprised as to the outcome. JFK was known for his affairs yet it was tolerated and his name to this day is held high.
Do you think Trump lies? Should he be held to higher standards given he is the president?
MG: All politicians give their version of the truth based on their agenda.
AM: [Laughing] Wow, I don’t know a single President or human that isn’t or hasn’t lied. That answers your higher standard question, too. Politicians lie because we can’t handle the truth. The lie sounds and sells much faster than the truth. It’s a double standard by both parties. Problem is we allow it and neither of us demands they be truthful.
Are you comfortable with Ivanka and Jared’s (and all Trump’s kids) role in the White House?
MG: No, I don’t think that they are qualified.
AM: I couldn’t care less. You realize they are doing the jobs with zero pay right? Ivanka and Jared both do not take a salary. Trump takes no salary so that’s a lot of money not being spent on advising the president. Who better can Trump trust than those in his closest circle? Republicans and Democrats dislike him equally. Not sure who would not bring in their closest, most trusted advisers to help make big decisions. They can’t be bought. Too much special interest getting in the way of making the correct choices.
Would you rather a Congressman or Senator who has been bought and paid for by special interest paid to lie to our faces blurring all common sense choices that might actually be a positive effect on Americans or a family who doesn’t need the money bad enough to sell that part of their soul for the vote? Politicians make about $140K per year, yet they leave office millionaires claiming to represent the poor yet call $1000 dollars crumbs. That’s a car payment, gas bill, water bill, and electric bill paid for most Americans. I’m not sure I can trust a politician with one hand on my shoulder and the other in my back pocket. Politicians can’t be trusted. Neither of the three are politicians. They are people though. They are doing more for the people than politicians are that’s for sure.
Are you happy with all who Trump has appointed?
MG: No, I don’t think all of his appointments are qualified.
AM: No, I was not pleased with Bannon at all. Did not agree with Flynn as many were. The list goes on. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s also not yours or my decision who he picks. It’s the Presidential privilege and his right as the President to work with those that he thinks will push his agenda forward and most of all those he thinks he can trust.
Do you support building the wall? Why or why not?
MG: I support better immigration policy not building a wall.
AM: I absolutely support the wall. I find it ironic and hypocritical that Mexico is building a southern wall, yet Trump is the racist. Raul Diaz, the Mexican superintendency tax administrator, confirmed it’s being built to stop illegal drugs from crossing over from Guatemala. He also admits it’s to stop illegal immigrants from crossing in also. So it’s very disingenuous for them to call us racist when they are doing it to their southern neighbors. I support legal immigration. Yes, We need to make it easier, faster, and I agree with many that those who were brought here as children should become American citizens. I do not support children who are now grown up and have chosen to be drug dealers, gangbangers “MS13” as adults instead of being respected hard working productive members of society. I’m not the least remorseful for them and/or the parents who brought them over 20 plus years ago and have failed to even try to become Americans. Tell you a story with the perfect ending.
My wife has been in America 10 years. She started the process right away, she speaks fluent English, and respects America for the values and its strong history. She is assimilating into our culture and still practices being a Filipino. She doesn’t spit on our flag and burn it, she doesn’t disrespect our national anthem, and she thanks Veterans for their service. She understands freedom. She chooses to change the country by making it better and serves the community as a nurse. She acts positively. She does not protest and make demands on the country that took her in and accepted her. She brings honor to this country by becoming a citizen last year. Do it right is all I and many conservatives ask. Do it with the heart of thanks and acceptance. Appreciate the country and honor the laws we have, follow them. Raise their kids to learn responsibility and hard work, not dependent upon the government for services. The idea was to come here for opportunity not a hand out.
Do you think keeping Mexicans or Muslims out of our country helps to “make it great again”?
AM: Not sure anyone’s trying to do that. Your question is that of a misinformed individual. Wanting to know who is coming to this country is common sense and it’s how you secure our home. You do not allow a complete stranger to stay in your home uninvited and unannounced. This is why you lock your cars, your homes, and your places of business. It’s common sense. It is a standard every country tries to attain. Canada refuses immigrants, too. Pretty sure the same immigrants we started out to be, travelled up to Canada and populated North America right? At some point the need for immigrants has to be throttled back. Trudeau said to asylum seekers that all who cross illegally will go through rigorous screening and those coming and failing to pass the standards will be sent back to the country of origin, yet America is wrong for asking to do the same? Hypocritical if you ask me.
Do you agree with Trump’s thoughts on global warming?
MG: I am not aware of his policies on global warming and cannot comment.
AM: Global Warming? I didn’t believe that before he was president so yes I agree. Why should America be held to a higher standard than China? Why is America responsible to pay a fee for global warming when there is too much proof of it not warming at all? The proof is more based on the facts of global patterns. Compliments of the site Friends Of Science. Myth #1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. The fact: The Hadley Center of the UK Met office and the climate research unit of the University of East Anglia shows this pattern — warming starting in 1878 and then cooling in 1911. It also shows warming in 1941 and cooling in 1964 then again warming in 1998 and cooling in 2011. The warming rate from 1964 to 1998 was the same as the previous warming from 1911-1941. It’s called a pattern.
Are you going to vote for him for a second term?
MG: It will depend on who is running against him. I am registered republican, but my view is voting for the leader I think will help our country most effectively.
AM: I absolutely will. He isn’t perfect, but so far he has pushed an agenda I support. Not all of his ideas, but I can live with what he is pushing. One for example is one Democrats should be loving. Democrats originally wanted 800,000 “Dreamers” (won’t use that cliché term again) but Trump is saying over a million. Pretty sure Republicans aren’t liking that number, but it what Trump is agreeing to under the circumstance of funding for the wall AND to end chain migration. You see we can’t fix this problem without an actual solution. Just legalizing 800,000 doesn’t fix the problem of them coming here illegally. Another bill Democrats should love since you are so FOR poor folks — Lower taxes from the federal government was a very nice touch. Waiting for the state to actually try a tax cut for to assist at least the poor.
So far I only see tax increases with a increased DMV charge (affects the rich but mostly the poor community), an increase in fuel tax (again this affects the poor way more than the rich), an increase in property tax (those poor folks are getting screwed again), and a Soda tax???? (now you know, those rich white folks do not drink soda pop!). Cutting back regulations … so far of those 1500, 860 were pending regulations, it’s withdrawn 469 and it’s a listing another 109 as in-active and regulated 282 of them as long-term. That’s a lot of regulations which cost companies money to follow. Lots of money. It’s like a mob — they mug you, take your wallet, steal your money, and tell you that you can run your business on their terms. That sounds like we are a free country after you pay a fee to the bookies.
Thank you, Michael and Alan, for these insightful responses.
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