President Donald Trump continues to enjoy support from Connecticut Republicans because they still don't see him as a political figure.
The real estate developer and former reality TV star entered politics as an outsider promising to "drain the swamp," and his supporters believe that's who he is despite five years in politics and a swirl of corruption scandals around Trump and his associates, reported the Hartford Courant.
“My hope is that if he gets re-elected for four years, there will be some freedom in that, that he’ll say, ‘I can’t run again, I don’t have to run again, I’m going to try to do a little bit more work to try to break up the quote-unquote swamp,’” said Steven Iovanna, 52, a former Democratic city councilor in Meriden.
Iovanna remains confident that Trump will fix the economy wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 180,000 in the U.S.
“If it’s Donald Trump, I think the economy is going to kick back in,” Iovanna said. “I’m a Trump guy not because I’m a hardcore Republican, but because I just see over and over politics being played and nothing being fixed.”
Manny Santos, a 51-year-old former one-term mayor of Meriden, said the president handled COVID-19 "as best as could be expected" and praised him for prioritizing the economy over public health.
“One thing I appreciated and which I think a lot of Americans appreciated was he didn’t lock down the country, which was not necessary,” Santos said. “You can’t close down a free economy and quarantine healthy people.”
Ben Proto, a 61-year-old Stratford attorney and GOP strategist, doesn't think it's fair to single out Trump for blame in the government response to COVID-19.
“Do I think that for the most part that the coronavirus has been handled poorly at all levels of government? Yeah,” Proto said. “There were a lot of things that were done by fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants at all levels of government. But if you look back over the last few years prior, our economy was doing well, wages were up, unemployment was way down, business startups were good, taxes were coming down, people had money in their pocket, and I think that’s all attributable to a lot of the policies that came out of the White House."
Proto thinks enthusiasm for the president will send him to another four years in office.
"The Democrats are not trying to win the election," he said. "They’re hoping Donald Trump loses the election.”