President Trump's First Weeks on the Job Cheered Many In Southern N.H.

Feb 3, 2017

While President Trump's recent executive order on refugees and immigrants has caused much concern across New Hampshire, there are also plenty of folks in the state who are happy with the new president's first decisive actions. 

MaryAnn’s Diner in Derry is a favorite stop for candidates on the campaign trail.  Two weeks into the Trump administration and campaign season seems like ancient history. NHPR visited MaryAnn's diner to see how customers there see the actions of the new White House.

"He’s doing a very good job. He’s doing exactly what he said he was, which is something politicians haven’t done in a long time. "

Roy Holton was a mechanic at a rubber factory in Nashua for 35 years, until it moved out of town.

"I think he’s going to control the terrorists coming into this country. And hopefully give us Americans back the freedoms we had before 9/11."

"And what are those freedoms?"

"Going to an airport, getting on a plane. Having to go through metal detectors everywhere you go. I consider them to be an infringement of my rights. "

Roy Holton initially supported Carly Fiorina, but voted for Donald Trump after Fiorina dropped out.
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

Nearby, James Hennessey is nursing a coffee. He’s got a Make America Great Again cap on, so it’s no surprise he’s happy with Trump’s first two weeks.

Still, Hennessey says he does not like what he calls the President’s ego: disputing inauguration crowd sizes; or making fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings.   

"He has his problems, he has an ego as big as whatever, but you take the good with the bad."

What Hennessey  - a retired newspaper ad salesman – likes is Trump’s executive order banning all refugees, and immigrants from seven Muslim countries for 90 days.

"The whole theory is he wants to figure a new way to vet people. And one of the problems, if you came from Syria, chances of getting records of your background are probably pretty slim."

According to Politifact, Syrians tend have access to more identity documents than other refugee groups. Still, I hear echoes of Hennessey’s views at booth after booth.

Even some Hillary Clinton voters here are rooting for Trump. Near some sunny windows, Noemi Vega is eating breakfast with her two grown children.

"Oh my god I’m so done with all the news, the media, it’s just becoming overwhelming. I think we should just let him do his job, let him prove himself, and that’s it."

"Did you support him as a candidate?"

"No I didn’t. Who did we support? Hillary! But now I’m completely supporting him. Let him do his job, let him prove himself."

Vega isn’t the only one who blames the media for whipping the nation into a panic.

"We’re not looking at a dictator. We’re looking at opposite opinions," said Stephen Landau, a selectman in nearby Chester who dropped in for breakfast alone. Last November, he says, he left the top of the ticket blank.

I ask his opinion of the immigration and refugee executive order Trump signed.

"I don’t find it to be any more obtrusive than some of the many things that have occurred over the last 200 years."

Landau is taking the long view. But if Trump does step on any laws, Landau says he’s sure the judicial branch will keep him in line.