Sun | Mar 7, 2021

As Trump era closes, Jamaican Republicans cling to disgraced president

Published:Monday | January 18, 2021 | 12:15 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Political activists pull down a cut-out of President Donald Trump while staging a demonstration in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday.
Political activists pull down a cut-out of President Donald Trump while staging a demonstration in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday.

Jamaicans in the diaspora who support Donald Trump remain largely unwavering in their defence of the twice-impeached American president and the Republican Party despite the recent storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, with much of the blame laid at his feet.

They have also condemned Trump’s second impeachment as political and unwarranted.

“The Democrats impeached him because they don’t want him running again in 2024,” said Desmond Brown, a staunch backer of Trump, whose approval rating, according to Pew, is at a record low of 29 per cent. The share of voters who rate Trump’s conduct since the election as fair or poor has climbed to 76 per cent, up from 68 per cent in November.

Brown said that until he sees iron-clad evidence and credible witnesses, he will not support the impeachment of Trump.

He said he was outraged at the Capitol violence, but believes the president did not incite the riot.

“If you are going to impeach, it should go both ways, because there are Democrats who have also incited their supporters,” he said.

“What took place at the Capitol was wrong but the people who incite violence are still in Congress.”

The storming of the US Capitol resulted in six deaths, including a police officer who was beaten. Offices were ransacked and items stolen. More than 100 people have been arrested.

There is heightened security in Washington, DC, with more than 20,000 National Guard members patrolling the Capitol and other cities ahead of Joseph Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Ainsworth Powell is also critical of the impeachment of Trump, whose trial is set to start after the president leaves office.

He also described the first impeachment as a sham.

“I condemn the violence that took place at the Capitol. I do not support what they did. They took it too far but they were protesting what they see as a stolen election,” said Powell, repeating the president’s unproven claim that there was widespread voter fraud on November 3.

Trump has alleged that the election was stolen even though he lost by more than seven million votes. He also failed in dozens of court cases to overturn state results.

President-elect Biden received 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.

COURT DEFEATS

However, Powell said that he still stands by Trump, who has been abandoned by much of his inner circle and whose approval ratings are at record lows.

“He was not given the opportunity to state his case and bring forward evidence to show that the election was stolen. There was massive fraud and the courts failed to look at the evidence,” he said.

Rupert Green, a Jamaican who supports the Republican Party but did not vote for Trump in 2020, said that the president’s lies stoked the Capitol riot.

“It was his racist supporters who came out. He exposed the latent racism in the country and what he did was outrageous,” Green told The Gleaner.

He supports the impeachment of the president.

Green said that if the president gets away scot-free with the January 6 incitement, it would set a dangerous precedent for future leaders.

“I am not a turncoat, but what happened at the Capitol cannot be condoned. It was an assault on our democracy and people must pay a price,” he said.

Scherie Murray said that she still supports Trump and the Republican Party and its ideals.

“I am against impeachment 2.0. It is petty politics at play and it is disgusting. The entire leadership of the Democratic Party needs to resign,” she said.

She said that she listened to the speech that the president made on January 6 and doesn’t believe that the call to fight was literal. Trump had also called for peaceful protests in his pre-violence address.

“It is an underhanded attempt to discredit someone who loves America,” she said.