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‘Send Her Back!’: Trump Supporters at His N.C. Rally

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As for Trump’s tweets: “Everybody’s tweeting crazy things. Everybody is! Why point the finger at him?”

Rachel Jessen / The Atlantic

Lee Chambers, 69, a realtor and a retired Air Force officer, from Gainesville, Virginia

“He didn’t say anything in his comments about race,” Chambers said. The representatives “happen to have views that are toxic, especially for members of Congress. They lie to advance their cause.”

Chambers was one of few African Americans I saw in the crowd outside the arena. Asked if he faces criticism for backing Trump, he laughed: “The only time I’ve gotten heat is at my family reunion.” He mentioned his red pro-Trump hat: “I’ve got five different hats. I just bought another one. I’m excited. I want people to know that there are people who support this president.” At his family reunions, “they told me don’t wear my Trump gear again. And I told them, ‘It’s a free country.’”

Rachel Jessen / The Atlantic

Randall Terry, 60, an anti-abortion activist from Memphis, who is the father of the Terry Train band members

Trump’s comments about the congresswomen were “not even remotely racist!” Terry said. “It was only about the systems of government from where they’re from. These wenches. These disrespectful wenches criticize our country incessantly.

“Well, Ilhan Omar, go back to some Middle Eastern country where you’d be afraid to live under Sharia law! I’m of Italian descent. I don’t care what color the skin is … You don’t like America? Go back to where your ancestors are from and then try to make that country better.”

Rachel Jessen / The Atlantic

Matthew Ritchie, 18, an incoming student at Texas A&M University, from Kernersville, North Carolina

“I want to be here. I feel unity here. Everyone is like-minded here and celebrating the U.S. and our president,” Ritchie said. Trump “has done a good job so far. He’s been able to get more jobs back into the U.S. They’re building more cars here; the economy is growing.”

Could he imagine casting his first-ever vote for someone other than Trump? “If there were grounds for impeachment, I would look at those. But it would have to be very credible for me to change my mind.” As for Trump’s tweets about the congresswomen, “I don’t believe it was racist. He’s just making a point and speaking his mind. That’s important. There aren’t enough people who say that nowadays. Everyone is politically correct. You can’t get out what you want to say. I like that in a person. He speaks from the heart and speaks his mind.”

Darlene Schadt, 69, a realtor from High Point, North Carolina

“One thing ‘the squad’ keeps saying is that he’s not legitimate,” Schadt said. “How ridiculous.” What Trump said about them “was OK with me, because I felt the same way. You can be critical, but you can’t be vile and constantly ugly. Every way of life that we Americans like, they disagree with. They have that kind of venom going on.” Trump’s critics “throw shit at him every day, all day long. It makes us want to support him more.”

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