A Trump Supporter And A Trump Protester Reflect On The President's First Year

Jan 20, 2018
Originally published on January 21, 2018 12:33 pm

A year ago this weekend, Albert Kiecke and Becky Dinsmore came to Washington, D.C., but the friends of 50 years visited the nation's capital for two very different events. Kiecke came to celebrate President Trump's inauguration, while Dinsmore said it was her civic duty to protest at the Women's March.

At the time, the lifelong friends from Houston said they didn't want the country's political divisions to affect their friendship.

"I mean, Becky and other people are going to have their opinion on politics, and I have my opinion on politics," Kiecke told NPR. "And I'm not going to change your mind nor can I change anybody else's mind."

So, one year later, how do they think President Trump is doing? NPR's Scott Simon caught up with them to find out.


Interview Highlights

On what grade they give the president

Kiecke: I'd probably give him about a B - ... He's just standing up to everybody, up to the media and up to all the people that are against him. But you know then on the other hand, you know, I get discouraged when he just tweets stuff that, you know, really doesn't matter. It only just inflames people and causes more turmoil.

Dinsmore: I'm sorry to say would give him an F. You know, I think that it's difficult to divide his policies from what I would call his proclivities, Twittering being one of them. But I think the F for me is due to the fact that he is divisive, and we've got people on both far ends of the spectrum. I'm surprised to hear Albert say a B-. I don't know, maybe I'll give him an F+.

On if they're proud that Donald Trump is president

Kiecke: I guess I'm proud. But I've always held the president of the United States, even if I didn't care for their policies, I've always been proud of our presidents.

Dinsmore: Well I hate to say it because I think Albert's point is well made, which is that we should all be able to be proud of the office of president. So, I still think we're a great country, but no, I'm not proud. In fact, I'm disgusted.

On immigration and the uncertain fate of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children

Dinsmore: To me, I just think what would it be like going back somewhere you'd really never been before. And separating someone from their family and from their job, and I think there is an impact on a larger group than just that individual.

Kiecke: I think that we should allow them to stay here. It's kind of hard to send them back to the country they have no knowledge of, but also they didn't come here legally by fault of their parents, and I don't think they should be automatically granted citizenship because of that. There should be some pathway that they could get in line with all the other people that want to be citizens and get their citizenship that way.

NPR's Isabel Dobrin produced this story for the Web.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Becky Dinsmore was at that Women's March in Washington, D.C., last year. She said she believed it was her civic duty to protest that weekend. She split a hotel room with a friend of hers of 50 years, Albert Kiecke. He was in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of President Trump. So a year later, how are they doing? And how do they think the president is doing?

Albert Kiecke and Becky Dinsmore, thanks so much for being back with us.

BECKY DINSMORE: You're welcome.

ALBERT KIECKE: You're welcome.

SIMON: I've thought of you both a lot over this past year of increasingly bitter partisan rivalry and your lovely touching and abiding friendship. So I got to ask before we get to the politics - you guys still friends?

DINSMORE: (Laughter) yes.

KIECKE: Yes, we are.

SIMON: Oh. Becky sounded a little more enthusiastic than you, Albert.

(LAUGHTER)

KIECKE: Well, I've got a little cold, so I'm kind of down a bit.

SIMON: OK. Albert, what kind of grade would you give President Trump in his first year in office?

KIECKE: I'd probably give him about a B-minus.

SIMON: What do you like?

KIECKE: You know, one thing, he's just standing up to everybody - up to the media and all the people that are against him. But, you know, then on the other hand, you know, I get discouraged when he just tweets stuff that, you know, really doesn't matter. It only, you know, just inflames people and causes more turmoil.

SIMON: Becky Dinsmore, how do you feel?

DINSMORE: I - am sorry to say - would give him an F. You know, I think that it's difficult to divide his policies from what I would call his proclivities, twittering being one of them. But, you know, I think the F for me is due to the fact that he is divisive. And we've got people on both, you know, far ends of the spectrum. I'm actually - I'm surprised to hear Albert say a B-minus. So - I don't know - maybe I'll give him an F-plus.

SIMON: (Laughter) I'm not sure the grade exists, but all right, yes.

DINSMORE: Yes, trying to bridge that gap there.

SIMON: Yeah. Albert, I have to ask - are you proud that Donald Trump is your president? Our president - forgive me.

KIECKE: Yeah, I guess I'm proud. But I'm - you know, I've always held the president of the United States - even if I didn't care for their policies, I've always been proud of our presidents.

SIMON: Becky, I think I know part of the answer. But let me get you to expand. Are you proud that Donald Trump is our president?

DINSMORE: Well, I hate to say it because I think Albert's point is well made, which is that we should all be able to be proud of the office of the president. So I still think we're a great country. But no, I'm not proud. In fact, I'm disgusted. You know, I think that everything from his, you know, ridiculousness to what I would consider some of his actions as being diabolical.

SIMON: Let me ask you about a particular issue that looms large this weekend, and that's the fate of the people who are called DREAMers, brought to this country as children. Becky, what would you like to see happen for the DREAMers and on immigration?

DINSMORE: You know, to me, I just think - what would it be like going back somewhere you'd really never been before? And separating someone from their family and from their job - and, you know, I think that there is an impact on a larger group than just that individual.

KIECKE: You know, I think that we should allow them stay here. It's kind of hard to send them back to the country they have no knowledge of. But also, you know, they didn't come here legally by the fault of their parents. And I don't think they should be automatically granted citizenship because of that. There, you know, should be some pathway that they could get in line with all the other people that want to be citizens and get their citizenship that way.

SIMON: Sounds like you guys agree.

DINSMORE: Yeah, I definitely would agree with that.

You know, Albert and I could do it together. You know, why not the Republicans and the Democrats?

SIMON: OK. So what do you not see in those two parties that maybe you see in your own working friendship?

DINSMORE: Well, it seems to me like Trump's brinksmanship - if I can use that word - is making it more difficult for the parties themselves to work together. You know, if he would keep his mouth shut and his fingers off the Twitter keyboard, then, you know, perhaps it would be more possible.

SIMON: Albert?

KIECKE: Well, I just look at it like the Democrats are so upset about losing the election. And it's just been - we're just going to hold the American public hostage for four years, and we're not going to pass any legislation. We're not going to approve any judges. And, you know, we're just going to do whatever we can to make it look bad for President Trump that he won't get re-elected in three more years.

DINSMORE: Right. But Albert, let me ask you this - if we were to have one bill, one topic and separate the wall from DACA, don't you think that DACA would pass? It's Trump that's attaching the money for the wall to the bill.

KIECKE: Well, but President Trump also made promises to his constituents. And he's trying to keep that promise - that border wall not only from illegal immigration but also to keep illegal drugs from coming across the border.

DINSMORE: But if that's true, wouldn't it pass in a bill by itself?

KIECKE: Well, not because - the Democrats are not going to let it pass by itself.

DINSMORE: Well, I guess this conversation is proving just exactly what we all feel, which is there are so many difficult issues. And, you know, I think people are paying a lot more attention than we might have in years past. And gosh darn, it's frustrating.

SIMON: None of my business, but I hope you two keep talking.

(LAUGHTER)

DINSMORE: Good idea.

SIMON: Been a delight to talk to both of you - Becky Dinsmore and Albert Kiecke, lifelong friends from Houston, Texas. Thanks so much.

DINSMORE: Bye-bye.

KIECKE: Bye-bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.