A recent email exchange I had with a Trump supporter who I’ve corresponded with in the past was very interesting, particularly because I’m aware that he only watches Fox News. It was an opportunity to pose some questions that I very carefully worded to avoid antagonizing him: Was he concerned about the national debt and does he think President Trump’s “relationship” Russian President Vladimir Putin is troublesome? What did he think when Trump called the media “the enemy of the people” and was he bothered by how divided the country has become? I promised not to argue with any of his responses, explaining that I was just interested in his opinions for a blog I might write. Based on past communications, this individual (I’ll call him Jake.) appears to be well-educated.
Jake’s response began with complaints about how conservatives are looked down upon, particularly in “progressive” areas, and because they are treated poorly, they are reluctant to discuss politics. Yet, he believes that progressives respond with anger and vitriol when confronted with a challenge to their political opinions.
Regarding President Trump’s dealings with Russia and Putin, Jake thought they were just normal international relationships as with any other significant world power. He agreed with the president’s foreign policy re: Iran, North Korea, China and the EU. He also agreed with the tariffs on Chinese goods and claimed that they give the U.S. “leverage” for fairer trade agreements.
Jake’s answer to my question about Trump’s “America First” policy and apparent withdrawal from world leadership was not surprising. He believes that every other country also puts its welfare first and blames President Obama for withdrawing the U.S. from world leadership. He cited Russia and Crimea, Syria and the “so called” nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran as examples. He believes that the rest of the world now respects our power and resolve again, even if they may not like us.
Jake doesn’t think climate change is a problem and that it may actually be good for the environment. He does not believe recent increases in temperature are caused by human activities. He didn’t directly respond to my question about Trump calling the media “the enemy of the people.” Instead he complained about the biased “liberal media” and its broadcast of untrue and blatantly political anti-Trump material, 90 percent of which he believes is negative.
My question about truthfulness was very mildly worded and didn’t cite thousands of Trump’s documented false and misleading statements: “Are you concerned that Trump doesn’t seem to care about being truthful?” Jake declined to address Trump’s truthfulness and instead responded by referring to the lies of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Obama.
Jake was not concerned about Trump’s businesses and whether they are profitable. He believes Trump no longer runs them “as is the law.” He does not believe that the president’s handling of illegal immigrants is harsh. To him, the border agents and ICE are just following the law enacted by Congress, which he believes is bad and doesn’t protect against massive illegal immigration.
Jake believes if Congress cuts the “ridiculous spending” and deficits, he has no objection to less taxation. Regarding the deficits, he doesn’t believe they are just the president’s problem; Congress is responsible for budgets and they have totally failed in that task. He doesn’t believe a president should control Federal Reserve policy but thinks that Trump was right in expressing opposition to earlier Fed rate increases and that rates should be lowered. He had no great concerns about the way Trump is handling his job.
I was most interested in Jake’s response to my question about how divided the country has become. He was very concerned about that but blamed it all on the Democratic Party. He believes that Democrats were trying for a coup d’état with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI director James Comey “but it has all proven to be false concerning the president but is very damning concerning Obama, DOJ, FBI and the ridiculous members of Congress like [Reps.] Adam Schiff and [Jerry] Nadler.” He added: “The people spoke and the President was elected and the Democrats should stop trying to change that for no significant reason except they didn’t like the outcome.” (This opinion preceded Trump’s current Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry.)
I responded to Jake and did not challenge his beliefs, nor will I do so here; readers can form their own opinions. The following paragraph is the substance of my reply:
My legal training helps me objectivity evaluate the facts involving this nation and its issues. Political parties and political philosophy are not important to me. Upholding the rule of law, defending the Constitution and protecting the security of the United States are my main goals. I spend a lot of time researching government statistics and publications for my blogs. I almost never completely rely on what I read or what I hear from pundits on TV without verifying it.
Bottom line: I think Jake is far too intelligent to believe everything he wrote, but like most Republicans, he refuses to criticize Trump. Jake’s “reflections,” however, appear to mirror some of the dangerous conspiracy theories and alternative realities that Fox News opinion anchors and right-wing media pundits foist on their audiences. And it is very scary and shocking to think that millions of voters actually believe them.