Hate Trump supporters

Visit to the US province : Where Donald Trump's supporters are at home

Kelly Anne Finn actually wants to get her pilot's license for small planes in order to be able to accompany her significant other in his hobby, but she just doesn't get around to it. There have been too many days like this since Donald Trump's election victory in November. In the small town of Warrenton, about 80 kilometers southwest of Washington in the state of Virginia, a handful of Trump opponents have gathered to demonstrate. That doesn't leave Finn in peace, so she grabbed her dog Jack and went to the demo - to defend the president.

"The town has a new sheriff and his name is President Donald J. Trump," reads a pink cardboard sign she brought with her. She painted a heart next to Trump's name. It doesn't do much good. Trump was a fascist, someone called out to her at the demo, she reported indignantly afterwards.

Kelly Anne Finn has set up a Twitter account

The sign is not very fresh anymore, because it has been through a lot in the last few months. After all, there are always people who take to the streets against the new president. Finn, 58, a former lawyer, mother of one daughter and avid collector of Barbie dolls, holds against it. She has also been to Washington to fly the flag. Because Trump is their president.

Finn devoured Trump's book "Art of the Deal" right after it was published in the 1980s. Since then she has been convinced that the real estate mogul is the right one for the country. "I've waited 30 years for him to finally run for office." When the time came, she set up a Twitter account. “So that I could give him tips on the first TV debate.” She's now just as addicted to Twitter as her president.

Together with other Trump friends in Fauquier County around Warrenton, Finn went door-to-door during the election campaign to get the Republicans to the polls. With many here she didn't have to do a lot of persuading. In terms of geographic distance, Warrenton may not be far from left-liberal Washington - in terms of attitude to life, they are worlds apart. A radio station popular in the area interrupts its country program at lunchtime with songs about drunkenness, love and pick-up trucks and brings the national anthem.

Finn wants more prosperity, fewer regulations, stricter laws from Trump. “It is absurd that someone has to wait ten years to get on the electric chair.” Even with the best will in the world, America could not afford even more refugees. She does not accept the objection of Trump opponents that white Americans are also descended from refugees. Her ancestors came from Wales several hundred years ago, so she was probably no longer a refugee.

Trump won a little more than 59 percent of the votes in the Fauquier district in November. Hillary Clinton only got just under 35 percent. As in other parts of the country, Trump's victory here was the result of a protest election, an uprising against the political establishment in Washington, which was decried as aloof and arrogant. One of the balls in honor of Trump's inauguration was called the "Defendant's Ball," named after Clinton's condescending description of Trump voters.

Trump brought the "deplorable" a great triumph, and yet activist Finn is an exception in Warrenton with her public appearance for the president. No wonder, she says. "They beat you up, they steal your Trump cap and burn it like they burn the flag."

They - these are the demonstrators in the marketplace, the others, the supporters of Clinton, the representatives of the liberal establishment, the media. You don't hear anything good about "them" in Warrenton. “A friend of mine hides at her job that she voted Trump because she was afraid of being fired,” says the waitress at the “Sunny Hill American Grill”, where the “All American Burger” is one of the specialties. Clearly it is forbidden to put someone out of the door because of their voting decision. “But it still happens.” A few steps further a customer is checking an automatic pistol in the arms store “Highflyer Arms”. Several dozen automatic weapons hang on the wall. Behind the counter are paper targets with painted silhouettes.

"People want jobs, but politicians talk about who can use which toilet"

He likes to say something about the mood in the district, says the burly salesman - but he doesn't want to see his name in the newspaper. As the son of a US soldier, he went to school in Kaiserslautern and therefore knows his way around Germany. “You have socialism with you”, but it is different in America. At least still. The tensions in the country? "If the left loses, there will be a revolution." The entry barriers for Muslims? “I have no problem with that.” The criticism of Trump's administration? "Pure hysteria."

The people in Warrenton can still remember the optimism of the left at the beginning of Barack Obama's tenure eight years ago and the promise of fundamental change. "If Trump says the same thing today, he will be compared to Adolf Hitler," snorts the arms seller. Left-wing Americans "have nothing but contempt for people who disagree."

Out on the street, Kelly Anne Finn also speaks of an unholy alliance of public schools, media and politicians who are manipulating America. She experienced it with her own daughter. She used to take the girl into the booth on election days and let her pull the lever on the voting machine - always for Republican presidential candidates, of course. Now the girl is of legal age and is going to study in New York - and what happens? “She told me that she voted for Bernie Sanders,” exclaims Finn, as if she still can't believe that her own daughter supports the left wing of the Democratic Party. "That's brainwashing."

Jim doesn't want to go that far, although he can understand the resentment Trump voters have against the establishment. Jim is a salesman in a wine shop in Culpeper, a town south of Warrenton, and speaks to a lot of people every day. “There is no longer any connection between the real America and the big cities on the coast,” he observed. Of course, he would count Culpeper as part of the “real America”. “People want jobs, but politicians talk about who can use which toilet,” he says of the transgender debate.

Resentment of the establishment

Jim Driver sits in his corner shop on the road between Warrenton and Culpeper and no longer understands many of his neighbors and customers. The massive man has been running the business on Landstrasse for 31 years; he lives on the first floor of the lonely house and shuffles to the cash register to sell canned soups and beer to people in the area. Unlike most of the others here, he, the Republican regular voter, has refused allegiance to Trump.

Driver can't make friends with a politician who brags about groping women. But when Driver mentioned this to a Trump supporter in his shop a few weeks ago, he experienced his blue miracle. "She got really pissed off and said she would never buy from me again."

Nor can he understand the hopes that many people here for new jobs through Trump's policy are. Modernization eats up more and more jobs. Trump could force the companies with special taxes to relocate their factories from Mexico back to the USA, but these new factories would then be highly automated, says Driver. "The jobs are not coming back."

Such doubtful thoughts are completely alien to Trump activist Finn in Warrenton. She also did her job that day and held up the President's flag at the demonstration. Now she is making her way home with her shield and her dog. People should at least give Trump a chance, she says. Finn is convinced that the president will seize this opportunity: "He will make America great again."

The Tagesspiegel cooperates with the survey institute Civey. By registering you will contribute to better results. More information here.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page