SALEM, N.H. — A day after legal reckonings for two of Donald Trump’s once-trusted aides, some in the region who voted for the president appear to be standing behind him.
A sampling of people interviewed Wednesday at a mall in Salem, just over the Massachusetts border, said the developments did not dramatically change their opinions of Trump and his policies.
Colleen Kiernan, a Derry, N.H., resident and federal employee, said she’ll continue to support Trump.
“I supported him and I’ll continue to support him,’’ Kiernan said. “I just feel everyone’s out to find something wrong.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen implicated the president in a campaign cover-up to buy the silence of women who said they had sexual relationships with him. In a deal with federal prosecutors, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, including tax evasion.
In addition, Paul Manafort, who served as campaign manager for Trump, was convicted of eight felony counts, including charges of filing false tax returns and failing to report foreign bank accounts.
One Trump voter said he believes the allegations against Cohen are just another chapter in the “witch hunt” against the president.
“My feeling is that this whole witch hunt is based on [allegations of] collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. What they’re doing is going out and finding other areas,” Boxborough resident Mike Gayowski said at The Mall at Rockingham Park. “That’s not what the group [special counsel Robert Mueller’s team] was supposed to do.”
Gayowski, a sales vice president, described himself as an independent who voted for Trump in 2016, but said he was unlikely to do so in 2018, saying that “the pendulum needs to swing back towards the center.”
Edward P., 59, described himself as a “staunch Democrat” before voting for Trump in 2016. He now identifies as an independent voter, but says he has been “feeling very Republican” lately because of the candidates he’s been supporting.
Edward P., who declined to give his last name, said his views on Trump haven’t changed because of Tuesday’s revelations.
“My preference is to judge him by what he’s done in office,” he said. “I think Trump is doing the right thing to make America a better America.”
The Massachusetts native who works in Salem, said that the implications of the Cohen case actually make him more suspicious of the New York lawyer than the president.
“Why didn’t [Cohen] tell the truth in the beginning?” he asked
Others allowed that while Trump’s methods might be questionable, he isn’t the only person to rise to power through unscrupulous means.
“Politicians, whether they be state, local or federal government, everyone is going to have secrets and get there somehow,” said Sandra Ferrara, a teacher from Methuen, Mass., who did not vote for Trump in 2016, but said she supports many of policies.
“I don’t think there was one candidate [in the 2016 election] who didn’t have corruption and back-door politics,” Ferrara said.
Not all of the president’s supporters gave Trump a pass, however. A Republican from Virginia visiting Salem for business, who gave his name only as Tom H., said that while his feelings toward the president have taken a “steady negative decline” since the president’s inauguration, he was relatively unfazed by the implications of Tuesday’s news.
The 35-year-old said he’s a fan of Trump’s policies, but he’s disappointed by “the people he has surrounded himself with.”
“It seems like at this point it’s just continual noise,” he said. Tuesday’s “stuff doesn’t really surprise me.”