As Donald Trump enters the run-up to his 100th day in office, his approval numbers are lagging following controversy after controversy
“I’m concerned. Syria, his cabinet, everything that he’s touched. Bad temperament, expertise, naivety. It’s all three.”
These aren’t the views of Trump-bashers in California or New York, but a worried lifelong Republican in Williamson County - long seen as the ‘buckle on Texas’s conservative belt’.
Williamson County, or Wilco, is a collection of minor cities and townlands that have a lot more in common with the rural deep South around it than liberal Austin just thirty miles down the road.
Trump won the votes of the overwhelmingly white and middle class locals here in November and for there to be any sense of buyer’s remorse could be a worrying sign for President Trump, whose approval rating nationwide hovers around 40 percent.
“I don’t think much of him,” says one elderly man, “I voted for him but not for this.”
Posing between cardboard cutouts of President Trump and Mike Pence and behind a statue of the Republicans’ elephant emblem, Bill Fairbrother, the Chairman of the party locally spells it out: “We are very conservative. Almost all of our elected officials are Republican.”
He says locals are concerned about crime and illegal immigration, not just by Mexicans crossing the border to the south, but ‘terrorists and folks from the Middle East” using the same frontier as well.
Even Bill, a loyal Trump supporter, accepts there have been “missteps” in the open 80-odd days of the President’s administration, mentioning the travel ban flops and the failure to repeal Obamacare.
“There’s a saying in my family, if you’re digging a deep hole for yourself, the first thing you need to do is stop digging,” he says.
He does, however, appeal for local calm in judging the President on his opening days.
“He was not a career politician. He’s a businessman. I would not expect him to jump into the role and be perfect at it... He’s learning as he goes along. He’s growing into the role and as I said, the first thing we need to do is get control of our border. I certainly think he’s attempting to turn the country in the right direction. His heart is in the right place and he’s making some progress on things.”