Supporting Trump As The Anti-Establishment Candidate
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
As we mentioned, there were five states that voted in the presidential race yesterday. Bottom line, Donald Trump still holds the most delegates. And his supporters are doubling down after those comments made by Mitt Romney last week. We wanted to check back in with a man we met a few months ago on a reporting trip to Charlotte, N.C. His name is Don Reid. He's a longtime Republican and former member of the city council in Charlotte. When we met, he had already made up his mind to support Trump. And now, as his chosen nominee is gaining momentum, Reid is pretty psyched.
DON REID: I just absolutely love the fact that Donald Trump is challenging the establishment Republicans. He's redefining the party and, hopefully, destroying the power that has been in that little oligarchy of establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C.
MARTIN: All right. So let's talk a little more about that. Why do you think the party has failed you?
REID: Well, since Reagan, they've offered people like me the choice of either voting for a loser like McCain or Dole or voting for the Democrat. And since I'm a conservative Republican, I held my nose and voted for the Republican. But they did nothing about illegal immigration. They did nothing about the debt. They shipped our jobs overseas. And so they've used the conservatives just like the Democrats have used the minorities to control the party.
MARTIN: What makes you think that Donald Trump is different - that he's interested in anything more than just what's best for him?
REID: Well, first of all, Donald Trump has many things about him that I don't particularly like.
MARTIN: Like what? Tell me what you don't like.
REID: Well, I don't like the way he treated Fiorina about her face. I don't like some of the language he uses occasionally, and he comes across often as an arrogant elitist. But Trump has been successful. You can't take that away from him. He is an outsider, which we all need for sure. And he does speak to the three big issues that I think will destroy our country unless we do something about them, and he is the only one who promises to do something. Now, will he do it? I don't know. But if we don't find someone who at least says they will do it, then we don't have a chance.
MARTIN: And you don't think Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or John Kasich is making that argument?
REID: Well, to some degree - I like Cruz. I think he comes in second, but I do not think Rubio is - I think he's a lightweight. He's very glib, very smart, very inexperienced and has not accomplished much in his life except get elected to office. Kasich is a nice guy, but he is not - I'm off the board with him regarding illegal immigration. To me, the illegal immigration is the biggest problem that our country faces. It will destroy this country and our culture, and we must do something about it.
MARTIN: You think Donald Trump can actually fulfill his promise to deport 11 million illegal immigrants?
REID: I don't know. I think that it's unfair to ask him all the details about it. But the fact that somebody says - I will do it if I get in office. I'll find the people to help me, and I will build a wall. All those things can be done if we have the resolve to do it. And if we don't have the resolve to do it, let's just fold our tent and forget that we're a country and become a Greece.
MARTIN: How are you making the case to your friends and family who are still not sold on Donald Trump as the guy who should be the Republican nominee?
REID: Exactly the way I'm making it to you now, and I'm not convincing all of them. But I feel very confident that I'm correct. I will tell you this, though. Trump is redefining the Republican Party. And for conservatives like me, once this thing is redefined, we may not be so happy with it. I'm not sure of that. I'm very - a strong - a social conservative. I don't believe Trump is. But social conservatism can be put on hold for four years. Doing something about illegal immigration, security of our country, building up our military, doing something about our national debt and the jobs - that can't wait. Otherwise, nothing else matters.
MARTIN: So what do you think of the idea of a brokered convention? I mean, if Donald Trump doesn't garner the number of delegates he needs and it does go to some kind of brokered situation where delegates could ignore the popular vote and vote against Donald Trump, how would you feel about that?
REID: I think that could happen, and I feel that if Donald Trump goes into that convention - I think he needs 1,237 delegates - if he goes in with a 1,000 - 1,100 and the establishment comes in with its power and money and effectively gets rid of him and picks somebody else, I think he will run on a third-party ticket, and I hope he does. And contrary to what a lot of people think, I think he could win.
MARTIN: Don Reid, former member of the city council in Charlotte, N.C. He is a Republican and a Trump supporter.
Don, thanks so much for talking with us.
REID: Hey, let's talk again, Rachel.
MARTIN: I'd like it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.