Is Trump a bigot and a racist, or is he an American who wants to create true opportunities for all while increasing freedom? Are his supporters deplorable? I joined NPR’s All Things Considered with host Michel Martin to discuss.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
As you surely know, the United States of America elected its 45th president this week. As with every election, there are those who are happy and those who are not. But this election in particular was so polarizing and brought out so many feelings, alienating friends and families, driving social media circles to close ranks around one side or another. We decided to do something different today.
We decided to spend the entire hour reflecting. Over the course of the hour, we’re going to check in with people from different perspectives who’ve been on the program over the course of the past year to get their reflections on what happened and what they want to see going forward. I’m going to try to get out of the way as much as possible.
We’re going to start with the winning side Trump supporter Gayle Trotter, one of the regulars in our Barbershop roundtable. She’s been a person we’ve turned to for some time now for conservative perspective. She hosts the podcast “Right In DC,” and she’s with us now in our studios here. Gayle, congratulations and welcome back.
GAYLE TROTTER: Great to be with you, Michel. I really appreciate being here today.
MARTIN: Well, thank you for that. And take us back to whether it was Tuesday night – or rather, probably Wednesday morning when the results were in. What went through your mind?
TROTTER: I just felt really good about this election. I felt like the pollsters had gotten it wrong, and there was all this effort to shame people who were supporting Trump into not voting for him, not turning out on Election Day. So when things started to turn Tuesday night, I stayed up. And when Trump gave his victory speech with his adorable son who was so sleepy-eyed and was trying so hard not to yawn, my heart swelled with satisfaction at all this hard work and what I see is a real change in strategy of opportunity and freedom for everyone.
MARTIN: You have a big smile on your face even now. What is it that’s putting that smile there? I mean, is it just, to be honest, is it kind of beating the doubters, or is it something…
TROTTER: No, No. And I think that’s a really important point in all of this. It’s not about gloating. It’s not about winning some contest in some macho sort of fashion, it’s the idea that, wow, we were persuasive. We were able to persuade Americans that our ideas will help them.
MARTIN: You’ve been defending him for some time now, which I just have to say is not the easiest thing to do where you live. It’s…
MARTIN: It’s a lot harder in D.C. than it is in a lot of other places. D.C. went 90 percent for Hillary Clinton, and it’s a different story in other places. But you also have to know that there are a lot of people who feel personally attacked and insulted and demeaned, in fact, by the way this campaign was conducted, in particular by the nominee, but also by some of his surrogates. And I just wonder, if you – do you have friends, people in your personal circle who have had those feelings? And what do you say to them?
TROTTER: Absolutely. And you mentioned the role of social media, and I would say that, at the very beginning of this campaign, just on a personal level, some people defriended me. They were upset that I was supporting these policies, and they couldn’t see the difference between the policies and what I would say would be the media caricature of people who supported Trump as being deplorable. So I had that label attached to me. And some of the people that I call myself friends of decided to act on it.
MARTIN: I hear that you are still connected to your sense of being victimized and offended, though, by people who have criticized you. And I hear that, but I’m wondering if you can hear the people who feel victimized, offended and demeaned by this campaign, in particular, the nominee.
TROTTER: I understand that people have accepted the media’s characterization of Trump’s statements. And I think if you are go back…
MARTIN: OK, but wait a minute. But Gayle, these are his statements. He doesn’t need to have been characterized.
TROTTER: All right, let’s take one.
MARTIN: These are his…
TROTTER: Let’s take one.
TROTTER: It has been repeated ad nauseum in the mainstream media that Trump said that Mexicans are rapists and criminals, right? That has been repeated ad nauseum. You go back, you listen to what he said, you actually look at the transcript of what he said, those were not the words that he said. So if journalists want to call him out for that like they did – and many other examples, the reporter, what he had said to women, if you go back and actually go to the source and look at it, it’s more complicated than the simplistic way that the media is portraying it.
MARTIN: So let me ask you this, is the issue for you that you don’t think he is a bigot and a misogynist?
TROTTER: Correct, yes.
MARTIN: Or is it that if he is, it just isn’t as important as other attributes…
MARTIN: …Other qualities that you think…
MARTIN: …Will he will bring to the country?
TROTTER: Right, no. Absolutely not.
MARTIN: You just don’t think he is.
TROTTER: I wouldn’t vote for a bigot or a racist. And I think people who know me know that I’m not a bigot and a racist. And so people calling supporters of Trump bigots and racists, that’s demeaning half of our country. And I don’t know all 60 million people who voted for Donald Trump, but I would say I know a fair number of his supporters. And I can tell you that not a single one of them could be characterized accurately as a bigot or a racist.
MARTIN: But we’re not talking about them.
MARTIN: We’re talking about him.
TROTTER: Right, right, right. I do understand the fine distinction that you are making, but I do not believe that that is the case. And I think that given the opportunity with the choices he’s going to have to start making, I’m either going to be proved right or proved wrong.
MARTIN: That’s Gayle Trotter. She’s the host of the podcast “Right In DC.” She was kind enough to join us in our studios in Washington for her reflections on this historic election. Thanks so much for joining us.
TROTTER: Great to be with you, Michel.