Trump Supporters Celebrate the Anniversary of His Election

Dozens of Donald Trump supporters carrying American flags and “Make America Great Again” signs rallied in front of Trump Tower on Thursday evening in honor of the first anniversary of his presidential victory.

“I’m here to celebrate a great year,” said Jovi Val, 26, the organizer of the rally. He seemed unconcerned about Trump’s low approval ratings or the disappointing election results for Republicans on Tuesday.

Trump’s approval rating among adults is 38 percent, according to an analysis of multiple polls by FiveThirtyEight, on November 12. It’s the lowest approval score at this point in the presidency since 1974.  President Gerald Ford, considered the least popular president before Trump, had a 38.4 percent approval rating after 297 days in the White House.

Still, though Trump’s overall approval ratings are historically low, they remain relatively solid among those who voted for him. Eighty-five percent said they would vote for Trump again, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll from October.

“Trump just brought this whole idea of nationalism back to life, that idea that it’s great to be an American,” said Val.

Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, Val shouted his admiration for the president into a microphone. “You cried when he won the elections, and why?” he said to passersby, trying to catch their attention. “You don’t understand that making America great again is a beautiful thing for all of us?”

Val, who calls himself “a hardcore patriot,” regularly organizes pro-Trump actions in New York City and crashes anti-Trump protests to defend the president. He uploads photos from the rallies and demonstrations he attends on his Instagram (about 1,500 followers), Twitter (nearly 2,400 followers) and Facebook (about 1,400 followers).

Jodi Val (holding the flag) at Trump Tower on Wednesday preparing to counter an anti-Trump protest. (The Ink/Marie Gentric)

Martha Gallego, a native of Colombia who now lives in New York, said she was happy with Trump. Wrapped in a giant American flag, she was smiling and giving the thumbs-up as she spoke about the president. “He’s making the effort to act in harmony, for peace, in the Middle East,” Gallego said, in Spanish. “Tomorrow, he’s going to speak with Putin to avoid a third world war.”

Though they still support Trump, many at the rally said they are disappointed that he didn’t do all that they expected of him during his first months in office. They blamed the inaction in part on the ongoing investigation into Russian ties to members of his administration and campaign staff.

“We have wasted eight months of the new presidency on trying to defend the president’s right to remain in the White House,” said Judy Clark, 69, who wanted to see him revive the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law that separated consumer lending and investment banking.

During his campaign, Trump said he was considering restoring it to break up big banks. However, his administration hasn’t yet taken any concrete measure in this direction.

“He’s been very embattled, so he hasn’t really been able to carry on his agenda,” said Ryan Rodrigues, 33, who declined to give details about his occupation.

Rodrigues, who wore a placard with pictures of the Word Trade Center’s destruction, said he wants to see Trump investigate the 9/11 attacks.

“He said that we would find out who really knocked down the towers,” said Rodrigues.

Trump’s unkept promises have cost him some former supporters. Many have expressed their disappointment on social media. “I regret buying in2 the cult just so trump can boost his brand,” tweeted Leibish Blumenfrucht, a 22-year-old rabbinical student in Brooklyn.

Blumenfrucht voted for Trump because of his immigration policy and was disappointed that he did not build a wall in the first months of his presidency, he said.

“I feel like Trump didn’t believe what he was campaigning for,” Blumenfrucht said in a phone interview. “I wish he was more the Trump of the campaign, the conservative Trump.”

Almost 2,600 tweets conveying the disillusion of Trump voters have been retweeted on the account @Trump_Regrets, which was created just after the election. The manager of the account, Erica Baguma, a 24-year-old Canadian student in social anthropology in Halifax, said she has seen a steady increase of unhappy tweets since Trump took office.

“In the beginning of his presidency, voters were disappointed that Trump wasn’t pursuing charges against Hillary Clinton,” she said. “People have been upset about tax plans too and irritated about his tweets about the NFL.”

Despite such disappointments, Trump supporters are already looking ahead. Several at the rally shouted “Trump eight years” and carried signs that said “2020.”

“If he doesn’t win 2020, it’s because he doesn’t want to go,” Val said.


Note: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Val is 36. He is 26. It also stated that he bought the hat he wore on Thursday at the Trump Tower gift shop. He bought the hat he wore on Wednesday night (shown in the photo) at Trump Tower.