Many Trump backers are 'totally OK' with Comey firing
Updated 11:54 AM ET, Fri May 12, 2017
- Many Trump voters across the country say James Comey's firing doesn't change their opinion of the President
- "I was hoping Trump would've done a lot better with his presidency so far," Kentucky business owner says
(CNN)President Donald Trump is under fire again, this time for his firing of former FBI Director James Comey. But many of his supporters aren't joining the outcry.
CNN spoke to Trump backers across the country, and while some of them expressed surprise at Comey's ouster, few said it changed their image of the leader of the free world.
Here's what they had to say:
Jake Lee, business owner
Lee, 46, of West Hollywood, California, said he believes Trump made "the right decision" in axing Comey.
"As far as the Comey thing goes, I think he gave him plenty of chances. I think what became the last straw was when he (Comey) made that statement about the classified emails showing up on (Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's and her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner's) laptop. You can't have rules for the elitist ruling class and not have those rules apply to everybody else. I think in my opinion that was part of (Trump's) decision. The guy likes to run a tight ship."
As for concerns that Comey's firing could affect the investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, Lee doesn't see it as an issue.
"You know, I think (Trump's) a lot smarter than that. If he were to fire him and then later ... the news got out that he was actually involved with Russia -- which I don't believe so -- that would be even worse. The cover-up would be worse than the actual crime, and I don't think that he would put himself in that situation. The guy, in my opinion, is super smart."
Scott Preisendorf, construction company owner
Preisendorf, of Windsor, Colorado, is an independent, but voted for Trump. The Comey firing is yet another incident reinforcing his regret over casting that ballot, he said.
Preisendorf thinks Comey should've been fired in 2016 during the Clinton email flap and that it's obvious that Trump fired Comey "just to protect himself. The way it was done and the timing, I didn't think it was right.
"I don't think he's working for the people. Trump is using his position to make himself, his family and his friends money. It's blatant."
"I'm still doubting Trump will make it four years."
Willie Standley, clothing store owner
Standley, 53, of York, Pennsylvania, says he has no issue with Comey's firing, although he was surprised by it and wonders what effect his ouster will have on the investigation into Trump's Russia ties. He also thinks the matter has become entirely too political.
"I think we should take the politics out of it. Get a special investigation to go out there and get the truth to go ahead and serve America, not the politicians.
"When a person is in office they should have people around them that are going to go ahead and support what they stand for. I own my own business, and if someone went ahead and undermined me and my business, I would fire them too."
Standley, however, would like to see a special investigation into the firing.
"Something is definitely not right, because the timing and everything is not good. ...Something smells with Trump. I don't have blind loyalty -- no way -- because ... I don't trust politicians. And that's part of why I voted for (Trump), because he wasn't a politician. But once he stepped in there doing the things that he's done ... he's going at it like a politician, not a businessman."
So, after the ordeal, is Standley still happy he cast his vote for Trump?
"I would say it's early on, but no. But I still think he's going to be better than Hillary would have been. Time will tell."
Shawn Lewis, tattoo parlor owner
Lewis of Whitesburg, Kentucky, says he doesn't know how to feel about the Comey firing.
"I think even if Hillary had been there, if Hillary had won, he (Comey) would have still gotten fired over ... everything that went through that. I guess he (Trump) could have handled it a little better ... (but) I don't think it's as big of a deal as people are making it out to be. Like most of the rest of the politics that's going on, man, it always gets blown out of proportion.
"It brings up questions of why, why did he fire him, you know? Then who's going to replace him? You know what I mean? Who's going to be replacing Comey? Because we do need a good strong FBI. Our country takes a lot to work, you know.
"I was hoping Trump would've done a lot better with his presidency so far. ... Truthfully, I don't think he's really made much progress, but I don't think he's going to be able to do as much as he wanted to do.
"Really, I'm glad I voted for him. A lot of Hillary's policies I just couldn't support. Clearly, we're diehard conservative here, so you know and I know where she stands against guns and a lot of the right wing."
Darrell Scott, pastor
Scott, from Cleveland, made national headlines when he talked with Trump during a White House meeting in February about fixing the gang violence problem In Chicago, including comments he later revised on meeting with top gang thugs. (Scott, who later said he would meet with former gang members, said Thursday progress on the issue has been made, but some initiatives are in the early stages.)
He told CNN that Comey was a "national distraction" and needed to be fired. He thinks the President tried to make it work.
"He should have fired Comey a long time ago. I think he should have fired Comey when he got into office," Scott said. "He extended an olive branch to him."
Scott dismisses the claim that the firing will affect the Russian investigation.
"Comey himself wasn't doing the investigating. Comey had field agents investigating and then turning their findings over to him. So, it's not like Comey's firing stops the investigation; because it doesn't."
Dane Roche, project manager
Roche, 25, of Greeley, Colorado, says he didn't vote for Trump so much as he voted against Clinton. Overall, he said, he's frustrated and feels the country is too divided -- and that the media is exacerbating that division.
As for the Comey firing, Roche said it was unexpected.
"I wouldn't say it's the best way to do it, but I don't get to choose. ... I was surprised but not surprised. Nothing surprises me anymore."<