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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Throughout President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, there’s been a deluge of bad press.
From the start, there were issues with the size of Trump’s inauguration. He said it was the largest, the media showed otherwise. There was the resignation of now-former national security advisor Mike Flynn, a huge blow to Trump at the time, especially considering Flynn had only been on the job a mere 24 days.
There was the failure of his health care bill, which Trump said throughout his campaign would be enacted within his first 100 days in office to replace the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t happen.
Before that, there were issues with his travel ban, which was blocked by more than one federal judge, even after it was revised. And who can count all of the snafus White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has endured? All of this is part of a long list of losses the administration has endured in its first 100 days, and the people who voted for the president have taken notice.
On Saturday evening, Trump held a rally here in Harrisburg and thousands flocked to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center to show their unwavering support.
One of those people was Michelle Raifsnider, 47, who hails from Chambersburg, Pa., She wore a snapback which covered her nearly waist-length long, brown hair and donned an “adorable deplorable” T-shirt. Raifsnider said she loves how “transparent” Trump is and that, in her opinion, the nation hasn’t seen a president who was truly open with people like he's been.
While Raifsnider spoke, Lisa, a 48-year-old woman from New Jersey who did not want to use her last name, interjected, saying, “I agree with her.” Trump has been “very transparent and very open to Twitter and letting us know what’s going on. He is trying, he is trying within his 100 days … He is trying, he is trying to uphold his promises but the Democrats are blocking him,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Supporters cheer for Trump at the rally Saturday in Harrisburg.
Patrick Semansky / AP
Both women agreed that the primary reason Trump was having difficulty fulfilling campaign promises was because of the other major political party, even through Republicans currently hold both the House and Senate. The pair were adamant that people are giving the president a hard time for “any real reason other than they don’t like” him.
President Trump has also faced opposition from outside the political arena in the form of protesters, like the millions of people who took to the streets during the International Women’s March the day after his inauguration.
“They say, 'Trump’s racist, Trump’s misogynist.' I think it’s all taken out of context,” Raifsnider said. “And as a woman, I’m more offended by the pussy hats and the people walking around with vagina costumes, like seriously, that’s your women’s march?”
Lisa followed, “I've never seen a bunch of cruel and self-entitled women as I have on Facebook and on Twitter. The things that they are saying go against the exact thing that they’re for.”
At the core of their arguments was the feeling that someone or something has been keeping Trump from doing his job, like the federal judges who blocked his travel ban. Lisa stated the courts should be “disbanded” because “we did not elect them [the judges], we elected Trump.”
Raifsnider added that “one man should not override the president and the people,” ignoring the fact that the US has three branches of government, all of which have separate but equal power.
Though some have come to expect certain stock responses from Trump supporters, like “Lock her up” or “Build that wall,” both Raifsnider and Lisa expressed more compassionate sides when asked about misconceptions people have about Trump supporters.
“We’re tired of hearing that we’re the alt-right, we’re tired of hearing that, because we’re not what we're being labeled as,” Raifsnider said. Lisa was also more compassionate when it came to travel ban-related issues, saying, “I know a lot of people who are Muslim, who are great people and they want to protect their children the same way that we do.” She added that her main concern was border protection and having people properly vetted before entering the country.
While thousands waited for entry into the complex to hear Trump's speech, a man named Darry Troup — also known as Minister 50 — played classic Motown tunes while selling what he humorously called “Trump phones.” The devices are aimed at helping the economically disadvantaged gain access to smartphones. Troup, a 57-year-old Harrisburg community activist, said he wasn’t a Trump supporter, but offered his thoughts on why the current president has been running into so much trouble with making good on his promises.
“I think a lot of his attempts to get things done have been stopped because of self-afflicted lack of preparation,” he said. “He has to stop vilifying and blaming everyone but himself for things that don’t go right, and once he learns that, that’ll help him understand what his predecessors went through in trying to get things done.”