As the dust settles and tempers cool following one of the country’s more divisive presidential elections, a sampling of local residents thinks a fractured citizenry can heal despite unwavering political loyalties.
But some of those questioned do admit that politically-inexperienced Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump will need to surround himself with sage advisors.
“If everyone just comes together as a community, and we are on the same page, then we can kind of go from there, no matter what the outcome is or who was elected. We need to stop going against one another,” said Adrienne Waack.
She admits to having reservations about President-elect Trump, but added, “No matter who’s elected, we’re going to have worries. I think both (he and Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton) were lacking a lot of things, and either way we have a lot to try and pull together the country.”
Waack said she’s not concerned with Trump’s actions over the next four years “if we can pull together and stop the hate amongst each other.”
Robert Carrillo was disappointed by Trump’s election, but said he has to have faith the new president will succeed.
“I’m not too overly-thrilled,” Carrillo said. “”To be honest, I thought he was more of a joke…I didn’t think our country would elect somebody like him. He just doesn’t seem a good face for our country.”
He’s nervous about the direction in which Trump will lead, but “I have to hope that he’ll do good for this country. I want to be confident but I am worried a little about what’s going to happen. His change might be the wrong kind of change.”
Carrillo is upset with the president-elect’s lack of political experience and his attitude toward immigrants.
“His whole campaign, that’s all it was built on – minorities and building a wall,” he said. “I know that he’s not racist against Mexicans, but he refers to illegal immigrants as only Mexican or only Muslim. Everyone emigrates from somewhere else. It’s not all Mexicans.”
He does believe Trump’s business acumen may bring a different dynamic to the Oval Office, allowing him to accomplish what other politicians have not. But Carrillo is appalled that Trump’s sometimes unrefined behavior makes America appear clownish.
“This election made our whole country seem like a laughing stock. Other countries are looking at us like we don’t know what we’re doing,” he said.
He does not, however, back the sometimes aggressive anti-Trump protests occurring across the United States.
“I don’t support violence. I think that’s just destroying our image of the country,” Carrillo said. “We’re not united. We’re more separated now.”
Nancy Krumm is expecting great things to happen with Trump. She thinks he has struck a nerve within the American psyche.
“Economy, trade, immigration – everything he has said a silent majority was thinking,” Krumm said.
She dismisses the controversies surrounding Trump as part and parcel of a political campaign. She said he has the right stuff to be president, regardless of his political inexperience.
“He’ll pick out the (most experienced) in his staff,” Krumm said. “He has business experience, and that’s what we need.”
Calling Hillary Clinton arrogant, deceitful, and a liar, Krumm said Trump can relate more to the common man. She said to know his character one only has to observe his children.
“He took the job seriously, and look at his children. You never hear of a scandal,” she said. “He’ll take this job seriously, too.”
Trump’s victory didn’t surprise Tom Fenton. He believes the businessman is presidential material, and recognized that citizens want to pursue a new path.
“Got to try something different when things you keep doing over and over don’t work. People want a change, and they’re grasping for something different,” he said.
And while he suspects that Trump is the lesser of two evils that pursued the presidency, Fenton was put off by what he calls too many skeletons in Clinton’s closet.
The questions and controversies surrounding Trump during the campaign were due in part to his quotes being taken out of context, Fenton said, adding, “They take two words out of a sentence to make him look bad.”
As for insinuations that Trump has wallowed in shady business practices and tax filings, Fenton said: “If he did anything wrong, then he’d be in jail. He’s a businessman. He did things by the rules that were set up by people like Bill Clinton and everybody before that, and Obama. And he was just following the rules that they set up.”
Michael Berne is just glad the election is over. But he is a bit worried about the outcome.
“I think that people still have to be listened to on both sides,” he said. “Sometimes, I’m afraid that we really don’t come together. There’s still some people on the fringes who need to be listened to. But, basically, I still have hope. I still think we are one country, one nation.”
He’s encouraged by signs that Trump may be willing to compromise on some of his hardline policies.
“Once we do that, we get away from our extremes, and come together and say, ‘You’re important. I’m important. And let’s do it together,’” Berne said.
“I do hope he gives himself some good advisors he can listen to. I think he needs to have some people who have some political expertise…surround himself with people who absolutely know the system more.”
However, he said, Trump’s choice of Breitbart News Network Chairman Steve Bannon as his White House chief strategist and senior counsel is troubling. Known for his far-right political views, Bannon has been accused of, among other things, racism and anti-feminism. His Trump appointment has been supported by former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Dukes.
“I think that can be very dangerous,” Berne said. “That sends a danger flag to me. I’m not sure that was the best choice at all…because of his understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Still, he thinks Trump may help set the economy straight, and, with the right advisors, could prove worthy of the position.
“I think we’ll be okay,” Berne said.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.