Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017
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Area supporters happy with Trump — minus the tweets

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    Gary Westfall speaks about the presidency of Donald Trump after six months on the job in front of his home in Jerusalem Township.

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    Rick Werner speaks about the presidency of Donald Trump after six months on the job at Jack's Supermarket in Jerusalem Twp. on July 24, 2017.

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    Gary Westfall has a Trump/Pence bumper sticker on his van. He is among Toledo area Trump voters who are maintaining their support.

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    Angela Schoenegge speaks about the presidency of Donald Trump after six months on the job in Jerusalem Twp. on July 24, 2017.

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    Larry Morgan

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    Laurie Bahnsen of Oregon said Donald Trump "certainly is a President like no other.”

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    Donald Trump wraps up a downtown Toledo rally last year. Now President, he’s keeping the firm support of his enthusiastic voters.

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If Donald Trump has done anything to tick off his supporters, it’s the tweeting.

Other than that, judging from interviews with Trump supporters in the greater Toledo area, they think America’s 45th President is off to a good start.

At six months into his presidency, the Republican Mr. Trump is still the darling of the “Make America Great Again” crowd in Ohio.

“I think he’s trying to do something,” said Gary Westfall, 74, a retired trucker who lives in Jerusalem Township.

“He comes out and says what’s on top of his head. I don’t think he’s thinking ramifications,” Mr. Westfall said. “He needs to forget his ego.”

 

Mr. Westfall is quick to clap on the red baseball cap bearing Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan.

And to those who suggest Mr. Trump’s policies conflict with his own interests as a retired worker and union member, Mr. Westfall said protecting liberties under the Constitution comes first.

“If you don’t have the freedom, you don’t have the money,” he said.

Low approval

Surveys show Mr. Trump has the lowest approval rating compared with the previous nine elected Presidents at this point in his presidency.

According to Gallup, Mr. Trump is approved by 37 percent and disapproved by 58 percent, nationally. However, it varies by state. In 17 states, Mr. Trump’s approval rating for the first six months of 2017 was above 50 percent, Gallup said in a report recently.

In Ohio, according to Gallup, Mr. Trump had an approval rating of 47 percent and a disapproval rating of 48 percent, and the remaining 5 percent having no opinion. That’s based on 2,981 interviews.

Mr. Trump’s support appeared undimmed among some 7,000 cheering supporters who filled the Covelli Centre in Youngstown for a rally in late July.

Mr. Trump won Ohio in the 2016 election with 51.7 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won 43.6 percent of the vote.

Larry Morgan, 58, a construction worker from Fremont who was working in Jerusalem Township, said he voted for Barack Obama but supported Mr. Trump in 2016.

“I think he’s doing good. I like what he’s doing. I don’t see him getting the support he needs,” Mr. Morgan said, adding he needs to get his “dream team” in place. “The Democrats are going to knock him every step of the way.”

Bob Henold, 76, of Toledo, said: “Donald Trump can do the job but they’re not giving him the chance.” He said even Republicans are beating up on Mr. Trump, but he thinks Mr. Trump should be more careful when he talks.

A retired insurance agent who is also retired from the Coast Guard and the Navy, and a pollworker for the Lucas County Board of Elections, Mr. Henold doesn’t agree with the President’s claims that millions of people voted illegally.

“I worked in the polls since 2012 and there is no way they have those kinds of numbers of illegal voters,” Mr. Henold said.

He sides with Mr. Trump on the accusations of collusion with Russia.

“That’s one of the things the other party is using to keep anything from happening. As long as it’s there, nothing can be done. They want to win the next election and get the House back,” Mr. Henold said.

Like other Trump supporters, he sees a bigger picture than the one playing out on the nightly news. For him, it’s based on his experience in the former communist country of Romania where he was a missionary.

“You can take communism out of the country but you cannot take it out of their hearts. Their hands are out all the time, gimme gimme gimme, and this country’s going the same way. As long as they give them what they want people will let the government do what they want,” Mr. Henold said.

Just the policies

Laurie Bahnsen, 71, of Oregon, said of Mr. Trump, “he certainly is a President like no other.”

“The reason I voted for him, and I think all of his supporters, is because of his policies and nothing else. All we care about is pro-American policies — our safety and our military. The other stuff is irrelevant,” Mrs. Bahnsen said.

She said President Obama got the federal government too involved in health care and education and Mr. Trump is trying to roll that back.

“If Hillary was in, none of this drama would happen. The Republicans would be acting like, ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ He is revealing the true Hillary supporters — the deep state Republican establishment. He upset their crooked apple cart,” Mrs. Bahnsen said.

Mrs. Bahnsen cited his appointment of conservative jurist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as an achievement and said he has re-established respect for the United States among foreign leaders.

Alice Henning, 88, a retired Toledo school librarian, started out supporting Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the GOP presidential nomination, and became a reluctant supporter of Mr. Trump.

“He is trying very hard. He has eliminated a lot of Obama’s boot-on-the-back regulations he was pushing,” Mrs. Henning said.

Russia collusion? “Fake news.”

“These people who are claiming that Trump lies, how many times has Mr. Obama looked into the TV set and lied to us? They don’t bring that up,” Mrs. Henning said. She wants Republicans to speak up “forcefully” about what Mr. Trump has accomplished.

“I’m unhappy with all the tweets. He should shut his mouth,” said Mrs. Henning.

Melinda Muska, of Toledo, said, “I did vote for Trump and I’m still supporting him. I’m perfectly comfortable.

“I think the man is intelligent. I think that he has work that is getting done and I think he should be left to try to do that without having to fend off a million different attack points,” said Ms. Muska, 55, a traveling geriatric nurse.

“He is not a political insider. He is not the standard status quo, he is not the career politician. He had a real life, real job, other interests than politics,” Ms. Muska said.

Anthony Bruno, 20, a college student living in Waterville, also likes the direction of the Trump Administration.

“I’m pretty impressed by how he has delivered on what he talked about during his campaigns. He has put more people to work by lifting regulations. One thing that impresses me is, the stock market is at an all-time high, and I’m impressed that he stands by the military,” said Mr. Bruno.

Rick Werner, 65, and Angela Schoenegge, 47, partners in a Toledo “new age” gift store, Once in a Blue Moon, both said they’re sticking with President Trump.

“He seems to be doing pretty well. I feel good about it,” said Mr. Werner.

Both said they’ve seen a bump up in business since Mr. Trump’s election.

Ms. Schoenegge said, “I think he’s set a lot of things in motion and that’s a good thing. Some people think he’s a little radical, but I think he does have a plan and he’s going to take us to a better place.”

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058 or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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