CNN Focus Group Of Trump Supporters: "Better Than I Ever Would Have Dreamt"


Trump supporters speak with CNN's Martin Savidge about their thoughts on the President's progress and performance a year into office. The panel included two white males, a black woman, a white woman and a black male from Youngstown, Ohio. They range from pastor to student to machine worker.

All panelists agreed that immigration was a huge issue to them.

Transcript, via CNN:

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anywhere you look in Youngstown are reminders of what's been lost: factories, jobs, the city's been lost: factories, jobs, the city's population is down by almost two-thirds from the 1950s.

The economy wasn't just disappearing here. So was a way of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I realized that the core foundation of our country is slipping away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It got to a point where I did not like the direction that my country was going.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The answer for many was Donald Trump. In 2016, according to the Mahoning County Board of Elections, approximately 7,000

registered Democrats switched parties to become Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he was going to make America first and he was going to bring jobs back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump said these are lousy trade deals. We fix that and the jobs can come back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something that he said that really sticks with me is that he wants to give the power back to the American people, and that's something that I can certainly get behind.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): I'm with a pastor and a stay-at-home mom, a student, a machine shop worker and a union member, Democrats who were raised in

Democrat families, who crossed over to vote Trump.

SAVIDGE: We're one year, one year in.

How is he doing?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than I ever would have dreamt. And I mean that sincerely.

SAVIDGE: Really?



DEREK: Yes, I agree.


DEREK: Yes, he's doing wonderful. He's staying on task.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): We start with the hot-button topic of the moment.

SAVIDGE: How big an issue to all of you is immigration?



SAVIDGE: Really?


SAVIDGE: In Youngstown, Ohio?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And as far as I'm concerned, they're stealing jobs of rightful citizens.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It is also about something else Trump voters say is important, rules and respect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like when people come here illegally, that's just very disrespectful. You don't respect our laws and you shouldn't be able to come here free-wheeling like that.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): A year later, they all still want the wall. As for the president's inflammatory tweets and speech, Gino says he used to cringe. Not anymore.

SAVIDGE: So you don't cringe anymore because you've grown numb to it or --

GINO: No, not numb at all but I know what he's done and I'm starting to get an inkling why he uses Twitter in the way he does because if all he had to rely on is what people say about him, oh, my God, I might not like the guy. And I love the guy. I love the job he's doing.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Justice met Trump at a rally and says he is not a racist.

JUSTICE: He was just the nicest person and honestly, he could have -- if he was a racist, as everyone paints him out to be, he could have just walked right past me and not even said a word.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): What about the lies?

SAVIDGE: Well, let me ask you this, do you think he is a liar?

GINO: Do I think he's lied?

No. Do I think he's fallen short in some of his goals?

We all do.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Economically, they say things are getting better. The stock market and their home values are up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Industries are booming everywhere I've seen.

SAVIDGE: I look around here and I don't see a boom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in this area, no, but I feel like there's small businesses that are starting to pick up.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Derek says Trump's tax reform will fuel the recovery.

DEREK: If you expand your business in the inner city, so then my community will benefit from this tax cut.

SAVIDGE: Do you think the media gives the president a fair shake?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think so at all.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): One year later, these voters couldn't be happier. They see achievement, most of all, they see a president like them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's like tenacious sometimes and says stuff off the cuff, like we do. Like real Americans do. We're not perfect. I'm tired of suave, I'm tired of polished, I'm tired of the teleprompter. I am, I want my country back.

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