Many Trump backers are 'totally OK' with Comey firing

Updated 11:54 AM ET, Fri May 12, 2017

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Story highlights

  • 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."
          Asked whether he still supports Trump, he said the Comey firing didn't move the needle for him, and he remains pleased that Clinton is not head of state.
          "There are too many things going on right now. Politics are a s**t show."

          Deborah Andrews, union member

          Andrews, of Savannah, Georgia, is a member of the International Longshoremen's Association, and stands by Trump. She also thinks far too much is being made of the Russia investigation.
          "He's done nothing but dig and work hard since he's been in office. If there's a weakness and he detects it, then they're gone. He's only going to surround himself with people who do their job."
          "I think the timing (with the Russian investigation) is a coincidence. He was probably told that Comey wasn't an effective leader so he was out."

          John Corry, real estate broker

          Corry, of Chicago, said he might have been surprised by Comey's firing a couple of years ago, but not now.
          "Nothing surprises me anymore, particularly after what just happened in the election. ... There is no normal or status quo anymore, as much as the Democrats and Republicans try and cram it down our throats."
          "The situation with Comey is interesting because if you go back seven months the Democrats wanted to lynch him. He had all these fireable offenses. ... "Do I think he got a raw deal? Probably, but that's the nature of politics."
          The situation hasn't affected his opinion of Trump, although he does wonder why liberals don't see that their aversion to Trump is not so different from conservatives' feelings toward Barack Obama during his presidency.
          "What's frustrating to me is that the left still doesn't get it, six months later. This isn't about Trump. It's about the vote. ... If you look at what happened with Obama, there was just as much pushback (to his actions), so the hypocrisy is right before everyone's eyes."

          Ingrid Mueller, spokeswoman for pro-Trump group

          Mueller of Beverly Hills, California, is one of Trump's Latina supporters and a spokeswoman for "Make California Great Again."
          "I think that James Comey should have been fired because he protected Hillary Clinton last year with the email scandal ... and didn't do anything about it then. I think he was paid not to do anything to her. I think he was overdue. I think President Trump did the right thing. (Comey) is not trustworthy ... since he didn't put her in jail or bring her to court with her email server. So how can you trust him in anything that he tries to investigate?"
          On Trump appointing a new FBI director, she said, "I really believe President Trump will appoint the best man for the job. He's going to do his best, because he's a man who always asks for opinions from other people. I think he will appoint a very good person."

          Dakota Wiseman, mover; Melissa Morton, law office worker

          Walking around a sunny downtown Charleston, West Virginia, during lunchtime, it was not hard to find a Trump voter, here in the state that gave the President his widest margin of victory in November.
          Dakota Wiseman, who at 20 years old cast his first ballot in a presidential race for Trump, was unabashed about the Comey decision.
          "Good decision. He got fired for not doing the job right. You gotta do your job to keep your job," Wiseman said.
          Another Trump voter said decisions like this week's have made her think about hers last November.
          "I'm starting to regret it," Melissa Morton, 51, said. "I think about that decision a lot.
          "His behavior," she explained. "He's just classless."

          Evelio Medina, chamber president

          Medina, 53, of Miami, is a big Trump supporter who helped organize the Deplorables Inauguration Ball in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
          "I'm totally OK with the firing, not necessarily how it went down. I wish it had been a little more elegant," said the president and CEO of the Downtown Miami & Brickell Chamber of Commerce. "Trump is unorthodox. I don't always have to agree with his form and fashion, but he's always gonna do it his way, just like the (Frank Sinatra) song."
          "It was essential to bring back the role of the FBI. (Comey) took liberties he never should have. ... He became political, and once you became political you can win and you can lose. Comey lost," he said. "The Democrats haven't accepted that they lost the election. ... They hated Comey, and now they love Comey."
          Asked whether he was concerned Comey's firing could have any affect on federal investigations into White House ties to Russia, Medina told CNN he feels the Russia issue is overblown.
          "It became sexy all the sudden. I haven't seen any evidence of Russian collusion. Russia didn't pick me up, drive me to the polls and tell me which way to vote."

          Everett Stoner, retired meat cutter

          Stoner, 80, is originally from Detroit but has lived in Greeley, Colorado, with his wife of 40 years for almost a decade. The Army veteran voted for Trump and thinks he's doing a good job, but he conceded no politician is perfect.
          In regard to firing Comey, Trump was "well within his rights and should've done it a long time ago. ... We need new blood." He doesn't care for Comey because he thinks the former FBI director protected Clinton, which amounted, in his opinion, to Comey "acting as a judge, not an investigator."
          He also appreciated the unexpected nature of Trump's announcement: "Trump doesn't broadcast what he's gonna do; he just does it, and I like that."

          Nadia Larsen, Israeli immigrant

          Nadia Larsen emigrated from Israel and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.
          "I support my president 100% for firing Comey. He did a bad job, period."

          Joe Messina, school board member

          The Santa Clarita, California, resident said he is not a "Trumper," but is a supporter of the President. He said the timing of the firing didn't bother him.
          "If he would have came in and wiped everybody out in January you know everybody would have said, 'Well, it's a regime. He's going to wipe everybody out and bring in his own people.' Well doesn't every president do that? So no, the timing doesn't bother me."
          Messina didn't agree with the way the dismissal went down. He thought the White House should have waited until Comey was back in Washington.
          He added that the media was spending too much time on the firing.
          "We've got stuff going on all over the world, and 90% of the media's questions are about this firing. 'Was it 12:01 or was it 1:15?' Is that really what they're going to fixate on?"