I seem to run into Frank (not his real name) a little too often. He’s a retired construction foreman and ardent Trump supporter, originally hailing from upstate New York. Frank does some handyman work for a few neighbors in the area and recently bought, with a friend of his, a fixer-upper in Brewster that, he told me, they’ll be able to make some big bucks on.
“It’s got four bedrooms and is at the end of a dead-end street; more than enough room for two or three of those families to live in,” he told me.
A large man with big hands and a searing look, Frank claims to read my column “religiously” and loudly grouses about it when our paths cross, and I’m unable to avoid him. After reading a column of mine that he particularly disagreed with (which seems often), Frank writes me an email, detailing his take on the issue and exactly why I’m dead wrong. Should I respond, I’m in for a barrage of replies and no matter my retort, there’s no changing his mind.
I bumped into Frank, last week while taking my daily powerwalk through the neighborhood. Cornering me with his car, and while sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running, Frank started the conversation by first addressing me as “Mr. Bigtime Writer,” and then upbraided me for not taking the threat of Islamic terrorism more seriously.
“Trump’s the best friend Israel has ever had,” he yelled at me, “and these newly elected Muslims are anti-Semites! As a Jew, how can you be a Democrat?
“I’m not a racist,” he continued, “but the culture of America is based on a set of moral values brought here by whites from Europe. My president says we need to be careful about letting Muslims in and that there are Muslim terrorists invading our southern border along with the Central Americans who buy, sell, rape, and murder. WHY DON’T YOU WRITE ABOUT THAT?”
According to Frank, you can’t be a Muslim and an American.
“If you call yourself a Muslim and read from the Koran, you can’t abide by the Constitution of the United States,” he argued. “Nobody has the balls to call it as it is in our Congress, except for the president, and he gets bashed for it.”
Frank’s mouth was exploding like a geyser eruption at Yellowstone and, though I yearned to break away, I hung around for a short while longer, intrigued by his ardor. (I was also tired from pushing myself, and it was an opportunity to rest for a bit.)
“You know, you and your kind— you elites—have no respect for President Trump or for people like me who voted for him,” he said. “Back in the day, there was so much respect for whoever was president. And I don’t care what he did, or what he said, there was always respect. It was always ‘Mr. President.’
“I’m disgusted with the way you talk and write about Trump,” he went on. “He’s produced a strong economy and kept his promises on immigration. He speaks his mind, unlike all the other politicians. My own daughter barely speaks to me because she believes the fake news the press spouts.
“Many blue collars voted for Obama, but now are ridiculed and considered racist. My wife voted for Hillary, but she’s in Trump’s camp now. She likes the unemployment figures and her feelings about abortion have changed. Even Mueller and the crooked FBI exonerated him. No collusion!”
“You could put half of us Trump supporters into Hillary’s basket of deplorables. We’ve all got some racist, sexist, and homophobic in us, and we’re fed-up hearing about it. You tell us we need to like foreigners and Muslims? Bull! Trump’s lifted us up.
“Guys I know, and even some women who were reluctant to back him, are strong Trump supporters now. The media wanted us to become weary of the drama and scandal that follows him. Well, it’s just the opposite. Every day, it’s like a scene from “The Apprentice,” and we get a real kick out of it.”
“Maybe the ‘educated voters’ are distancing themselves because they expected Trump to change. And I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a Republican challenger. But I don’t see him changing a whole lot, and I love him for it. He’s my president!”