Local Trump Supporters Offer Their Takes on Travel Ban, Protests

Donald Trump has enjoyed consistent, ardent support from his base. (Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

After the Trump administration took power on January 20, 2017, change across the nation was inevitable. Now more than a month in, change has come and it has been both praised and loathed across the political spectrum.

In Gainesville, Trump supporters have seemed to come to a consensus that valuing strong immigration and national defense, repealing Obamacare, an outsider’s point of view, and decreasing the national debt are positive steps for the nation.

Current topics up for debate include Trump’s immigration policies, recent so-called “travel ban”, and the coverage he is receiving from the public and the press.

Brett Jaffe, President of the Santa Fe College Republicans, says he stands with the president’s stance on immigration and believes it is being mischaracterized.

“I agree with his immigration stance. I think people are making it out a lot more than it is. I think it is business as usual. Of course, there is a lot more deportation going. That’s just the reality,” said Jaffe.

However, political theory and implementation are two different worlds – and Jaffe concedes the recent travel ban was an ill-advised logistical move.

“I don’t agree with the travel ban. It’s not necessarily where the countries that he’s outlined are. It’s the fact that it was planned horribly…. The airport security had no idea what to do and it also affected citizens and green card holders who come here legally, who I think have every right that we as Americans do,” Jaffe noted.

Trump’s past experience as a businessman has made him stand out from past politicians, according to local Trump supporters including Sherri McKnight, a business woman and the former chairperson of the Alachua County for Donald Trump campaign.

“Being a businessman, he understands what’s going on with business and the stranglehold of regulation,” said McKnight, on one of Trump’s biggest campaign messages.

Over the past few weeks, the president has stood firm on his campaign promise of rolling back coal regulations and setting up new criteria for the implementation of federal regulations.

McKnight reiterated the claim that regulations stymie growth and said she has felt the burden personally.

“My husband and I have to work twice as hard to make less money than we did a few years ago. … Small business owners are the engine of this nation. They always have been and always will be unless regulation continues to put them out of business.” said Sherri McKnight.

Amidst stirred tensions on both sides of the political spectrum, Trump supporters have rallied with the president and have also begun criticizing the media and the reaction from those on the left.

When discussing the media’s reaction to Trump’s immigration policies, McKnight said that she watches channels such as CNN and CNBC because she is interested to know how they are covering the president.

“It’s amazing how they’re now using the term immigrants instead of refugees. What Trump is doing is trying to keep our country safe. I don’t understand why people have such a problem with that.” concluded McKnight.

On the topic of local protesting, Tammy Prince, Chairwoman of the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee, said she has grown accustomed to protests and does not have an issue with their presence.  

“Here in Gainesville, there are protesters all the time – actually, every Tuesday at our Representative Ted Yoho’s office. So there are protesters everywhere,” said Prince on the protests which have occurred nonstop since Trump’s inauguration.

Prince attempted to clarify her position on the protesters’ rights and the level to which she feels is acceptable for them to operate.

“I don’t have a problem with protesters using their 2nd Amendment or even 1st Amendment rights. As long as there are peaceful protests I think that’s fine. I don’t like it when the protesters approach people. I don’t think that’s fair because the people have their rights also. As long as the protesters stay to themselves, that’s fine,” said Prince.

All three supporters agreed that Trump is not being offered a fair chance and that his actions are only being carried out because they will improve the nation. Yet, the majority of Americans do not see it similarly. With a record low approval rating for newly-elected presidents, Trump will have to work harder to incorporate more than just his base into seeing his vision for America.

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