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After remarks on Charlottesville rally, Trump’s people in N.H. remain on his side

  • Bill Fitzpatrick of Hudson said his support of President Donald Trump has not wavered in Trump’s first months in office on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Jane Wentworth of Franklin said she’s still behind President Donald Trump on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Jane Wentworth of Franklin said she’s still behind President Donald Trump on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Carole Wentworth of Franklin said she’s still behind President Donald Trump on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Jane Wentworth (left) and her daughter Carole of Franklin said they’re still behind President Donald Trump on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor columnist
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Last summer, the McCoy family and their 52-foot trailer made it clear that Donald Trump was the favored presidential candidate at their Pittsfield home.

“TRUMP!” painted in white letters on a green background, spanned the entire length of the trailer. Meanwhile, Joe and Linda McCoy, plus their son, Brian Bales, spoke passionately and hopefully about the man they believed could bring a new, honest voice to the White House, unhindered by political influences.

Fast forward, after the stinging criticism Trump has received in recent days for his comments connected to violence in Charlottesville, Va. The McCoys and Bales still believe in Trump, but the president’s super-sized surname on the trailer is gone, as is a now-doused fire that once burned hot in their voices and words.

“We want to stay in the background,” Joe McCoy said softly. “We did our thing getting him elected.”

These days, no one seems happy. Not Trump supporters, not anti-Trumpers – no one.

While those who protested against the white nationalist movement last weekend continue to mourn the death of Heather Heyer, killed by a car allegedly driven by a Nazi sympathizer, McCoy, his stepson and other Trump supporters exhibited a mixture of anger and once-filled political fuel tanks that are now running on fumes.

Joe McCoy fondly recalled last summer, when Bike Week visitors stopped by his home to shake his hand, and his Facebook page had 30,000 likes.

“They attack him every time he opens his mouth,” McCoy said. “He’s not a politician; he’s our president, and I stand behind him.”

Asked about the perception that Trump equated activists protesting bigotry with people affiliated with neo-Nazism and white supremacy, McCoy echoed Trump’s initial reaction from last Saturday, telling me, “There’s been dead on the left and dead on the right. We need to get together. There are too many haters on both sides.”

He continued: “I’m not a fan of Nazis. I’m not a fan of Black Lives Matter. I’m not a fan of the knuckleheads who have nothing to do. I’m a fan of the president. What he said was politically incorrect, and I like that about the guy.”

Bales, McCoy’s stepson, drove up the rocky driveway. When we first met, shortly after he’d painted those giant letters on the trailer, Bales praised Trump’s straightforward nature, telling me, “If you watch Family Guy and you like Trump, you can’t be mad at the s--- he says. The dude has a sense of humor.”

This time, though, Bales was in no mood to talk about the man who’s made headlines seemingly forever.

“I don’t really care,” he told me when asked for reaction on Trump’s recent comments. “I’m sick of this s---. You bash him on everything he says. Let him be president.”

At K&B Crushing Equipment in Chichester, where a Trump sign (Make America Great Again) hung above the entrance, Bill Fitzpatrick said he hadn’t heard the latest news about Trump.

It’s doubtful, though, that what happened in Charlottesville would have altered his thoughts on the president. Supporters, it seems, have stuck with Trump, no matter the circumstances.

“They’re beating him up pretty badly,” Fitzpatrick said. “Every time he does something, they start slamming him. He’s cleaning out, getting rid of the dead wood. He’s kicking ass and taking names, and they don’t like it.”

On a bridge in downtown Franklin, Jane Wentworth, Carole Wentworth and 2-year-old Danica Wentworth – grandmother, mother and granddaughter – were out for a walk on a sunny day with a cloudy political climate.

Their support for Trump has not been swayed. They favor a wall on the border with Mexico, they believe immigration hurts American workers and they find Trump’s words refreshing.

“Finally, we have a president who’s honest, and people can’t handle honesty,” Jane said. “The KKK has their opinion that they don’t like certain people. I don’t like certain people. Does that make me a racist?”

She continued: “He’s coming out against both parties, and I think that’s fair. They’re both violent.”

Added Carole, “It’s not (Trump’s) fault. People will think what they want. Foreigners get everything handed to them, and I work my butt off for everything I have.”

So where do we go from here? From Wednesday’s small sample, it’s easy to assume that plenty of people who liked Trump on Election Day still like him. In anything and everything he does, he resembles no other president in U.S. history, and that’s why so many voters were drawn to him.

In fact, that’s why he’s in the White House.

“He’s doing a good job if everyone gets behind him,” McCoy said. “He’s our president. Stand with him.”