By JOHN RABY
W.Va. (AP) — Critics of President Donald Trump saw in his Thursday news
conference a combative, thin-skinned chief executive who continues to
blame the media for the controversies roiling his administration.
supporters saw something else: A champion of Middle America who is
taking on the establishment and making good on his campaign promises to
put the country first.
Associated Press contacted Trump supporters across the country to see
how they viewed a news conference in which the president said his
administration was running like “a fine-tuned machine” despite the
resignation of his top national security adviser, a court setback on his
immigration order, a defeat for his nominee as labor secretary and
reports of internal divisions.
Here are views of some of those supporters:
Kirk of Logan, West Virginia, watched some of Trump’s news conference
on Thursday and didn’t see any head-scratching comments from the
“I back him 100 percent,” said the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom. “You either love it or get out, is my opinion.”
Barack Obama’s presidency, her husband was laid off from his
coal-mining job, a loss they blamed on Obama’s environmental policies.
She said they lost a home and “everything we owned.”
West Virginia voters resoundingly rejected Obama during his 2012
re-election, “we didn’t show our hind ends when Obama was re-elected,”
Kirk said. So she believes people shouldn’t overreact to Trump, either.
particularly agreed with the president when he took credit for an
optimistic business climate and a rising stock market, saying Trump is
beginning to fulfill his campaign promise to put people back to work.
Reporters, she said, “need to leave him alone. He’s just doing what he said he’s going to do.”
Regina Lenoir of Picayune, Mississippi, enjoyed watching Trump’s news conference and said the president “looked more relaxed.”
69, said she was most interested in the president’s comments about the
alleged leaks that led to the resignation of Michael Flynn as national
don’t know the conversation that happened between him and (Vice
President Mike) Pence. Only they know. But the news media gets out there
(and) says such and such with no corroboration,” she said. “I’m sick of
them making up stories. You know, we’re intelligent people. We can make
up our own mind on whether they’re telling the truth.”
agreed with Trump’s take on how the media has covered his
administration and campaign, saying those covering his administration
are good reporters but biased.
She said if people gave Trump a chance, “he might just surprise everyone.
“He wasn’t my first choice, but he is my president,” Lenoir said. “I think he handled the news conference very well.”
Kevin Felty of Norfolk, Virginia, said it was the “most impressive presidential press conference” of his life.
because it was so unorthodox,” said Felty, 48, who works as a surgical
assistant and sells life insurance. “It was hyper adversarial between
the president and the press. And yet he was able to control the
questioning and the tone and the mood in the room.”
Felty said the media needs to move on regarding Russia and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
was nothing illegal that General Flynn had done at that time,” Felty
said. “What he did do is make a mistake in not being accurate with the
He also said he believes Trump is trustworthy as president.
doesn’t need the media to chide him to make the right decisions,” Felty
said. “It’s something he’s been doing well for decades.”
Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls,
Wisconsin, said he was glad to see the president push back against the
media. He said reporters have no proof Trump or anyone around him did
trying to make up a story that Trump worked with the Russians to rig
the election,” he said. “Now they’re trying to make a big deal out of
(former national security adviser) Mike Flynn. He was doing what he was
supposed to do. He was talking to his counterparts. He was talking to
the Russians. He got fired because he lied to (Vice President Mike)
Pence. There’s no story there. The left media is so excited. They think
they took this guy down. No. He made a mistake. He just lied.”
said he remains squarely behind the billionaire president because he
has done what he said he would do on the campaign trail.
accomplished more in, whatever, three weeks, regarding the stuff he
talked about,” Hiltgen said. “That’s what people voted for. I can’t
believe there’s actually a politician doing what he says he would do.
That never happens.”
Press writers Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia; Chevel Johnson in New
Orleans; and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this