One of Donald Trump’s explanations about why it wasn’t on him to end his government shutdown was that “most of the people not getting paid are Democrats.” But whatever the percentage of Democrats, the 800,000 people Trump’s shutdown is leaving without paychecks include plenty of Republicans. Not just any Republicans—the kind of people who, faced with problems from the shutdown, say this:
“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”
Let that one sink in for a minute. “He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” No. Wait. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” Good things … like hurting people.
That distillation of the Trump supporter’s ethos comes to you courtesy of Crystal Minton, a prison secretary in the Florida Panhandle. Her life has been made enormously more difficult first by Hurricane Michael and now by the shutdown. The New York Times’ Patricia Mazzei reports that Minton and other prison workers in her town are dealing not just with the shutdown, but with hurricane damage to their own homes and to the prison where they work. They’re forced to drive seven hours for two-week stints at the facility where prisoners were relocated. That means they’re leaving their families and shelling out hundreds of dollars in expenses for which they’re not being reimbursed. It’s an outrageous situation, and you have to feel for them. And Minton is a single mother of a seven-year-old and also cares for her disabled parents; she is in an incredibly difficult position.
But … “He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” Her problem with Trump is not just that he’s hurting her but that he’s hurting her instead of … other people. (Two children died in U.S. custody last month, by the way.) This is a woman who stands ready to be happy with Trump if he’ll help her at the expense of other people. This is a Trump supporter being honest about what being a Trump supporter means, even at the moment of disillusionment with Trump.