THE PROMISE: Would Trump supporters elect him again now?

For some Trump voters in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, their new president has already done more than Obama – but others have had enough

By The Guardian / April 25, 2017


Tax reform needs to happen now.

Neil Gorsuch is gold.

Keep giving the media hell.

Keep showing evil dictators who’s boss.

Try again on healthcare.

And don’t forget the tax cuts.

Those are some of the messages Donald Trump voters had for the president as the 100-day mile marker of his presidency approached, in a politically centrist county where the Guardian has been tracking Trump support since before the inauguration.

Backing for the president in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, a former industrial juggernaut which voted for Barack Obama twice before falling for Trump in 2016, appeared to be healthy, three months in. Both Democrats and Republicans who voted for Trump gave him positive marks – a B-plus or A-minus – although many supporters said the clock is ticking for the president to deliver on tax reform and other promises.

“The people who were for Trump and who supported him and voted for him are still 100% behind him,” said John Morganelli, the Democratic county district attorney who has been re-elected six times (and who declined to say whom he voted for last November). “So I think if the election was held again today, in Northampton County there’s a good chance that Trump would carry this county again. And it might be slightly closer, but I think that he would probably do well.”

Northampton was not supposed to jump for Trump in 2016. The Hillary Clinton campaign was so confident of victory here that it moved local operatives out of state, to North Carolina and elsewhere, in the run-up to the election.

But Trump’s promise to make America great again found unexpected traction in Northampton, among Democratic voters who remembered the heyday of Bethlehem steel, once a local symbol of national strength, or who sensed, they say, that Clinton did not truly care about their lives and challenges.

Trump won here by four points. To hear many voters in Northampton tell it, he would do the same tomorrow.

“It’s only 100 days,” said Christy Facciponti, 54, a former engineer at Bethlehem Steel, who was flying a Trump flag outside her home in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, last week. “Please, give him a second. He’s already done more than Obama ever did.”

The little fat boy over there, I think he’s putting a set of manners on him. Barber Joe D’Ambrosio

Joe D’Ambrosio, a barber in Bethlehem who changed his party registration from Democratic in 2016 to vote for Trump in the primary, praised the president’s conduct of foreign policy, especially his showdown with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

“Trump tells the strongest guys in town, if you want to mess with him, he’ll mess with you,” D’Ambrosio said. “And the little fat boy over there, I think he’s putting a set of manners on him.”

Bruce Haines, a Republican former steel executive who runs the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, praised Trump’s installation of Neil Gorsuch on the supreme court and said support for the president in the business community was robust.