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A focus group in a key Rust Belt city hammered away at President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, tossing around words and phrases such as “contemptible” and “disastrous,” and an “abject disappointment,” Politico reported.
The Pittsburgh focus group, made up of voters who cast ballots for either Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, or a third-party candidate, came down hard on the president, with some of his supporters offering the most brutal assessments.
Trump won Pennsylvania last year by roughly 44,000 votes after a recount was conducted in the Keystone State. Prior to that recount, he was leading in the state by about 70,000 votes and had won the seven-county Pittsburgh metro area by nearly 60,000 votes. Within the city limits and in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, Clinton finished well ahead of Trump.
Registered Republican Brian Rush said Trump was not his first choice, but he voted for him anyway because of his discontent with the status quo.
“I look at a president to be presidential, someone who is calm, focused,” Rush said. “Ronald Reagan came in as an actor, but he goes down as one of our better presidents. He came in not as a politician. In some aspects, [Trump is] almost turning into a politician in a different way, saying things he thinks his base wants to hear. He’s let me down.”
The focus group was put together by Emory University and conducted by Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster. While two people in the group expressed optimism because of improved business, the remainder of the group used words like “embarrassing” and “scary” to describe the presidency.
“I traditionally am in the ‘give the guy a chance’ group,” David Turner, who works in construction, told the group. “His learning curve has been a little disappointing, meaning he hasn’t caught on like everyone has said here, ‘If he did this, he’d be OK.'”
Christina Lees, a Republican who leans independent, expressed exasperation with Trump.
“We know he’s a nut,” she said. “Everyone knew he was a nut. But there comes a point in time when you have to become professional. He’s not professional, forget about presidential.”
Republican voter Russell Stit said he was a big supporter of the “make America great again” message, but is now confused as to where Trump is trying to go with it.
“I guess I question what he’s trying to do,” he said. “I don’t fully understand it. The philosophy, give the guy a chance, is only the first 200 days to try to right the ship.”
Tony Sciullo, a Republican-leaning independent who voted for Trump, said he is praying the president “will make a paradigm shift.”
“He is our president until and if he gets impeached,” he said.
Trump has repeatedly used Pittsburgh as a metaphor for the people he is fighting for in office.
When announcing that he would pull out of the Paris climate agreement in June, Trump said he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris” in a Rose Garden announcement. During a speech to the American Legion in Reno, Nevada last week, Trump promised that he would soon be bringing new jobs to places such as Pittsburgh and Detroit.