Last Thursday was another chaotic news day in Washington D.C. Among the most stunning revelations: acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney held a press conference in which he told reporters that President Trump held foreign aid from Ukraine for reasons that could politically benefit the president. In other words, he acknowledged there was a quid pro quo. (He would later walk back those remarks.)
Two thousand miles from Washington D.C. on the same day, roughly 30 Trump supporters stood in the town square. They gathered as part of a national day of protest to support President Trump and denounce the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.
The crowd of mostly older folks waved American flags and donned Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats. It was a sight not all that common in Jackson Hole, known as a liberal bubble in a reliably red state.
Former state Rep. Marti Halverson, a Republican from Star Valley, was among the supporters. She wanted to show her support “in light of all this impeachment nonsense.”
“They’re fishing for an impeachable offense. And there just isn’t one,” she said.
Halverson said she read a portion of the rough transcript between Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Her assessment of that call mirrored the reactions of many Congressional Republicans: she said she found no fault with the conversation. “The point of the call was to get a confirmed statement from the Ukrainian president that they are addressing their corruption issues.”
Many Democrats, meanwhile, and a few Republicans, worry the president may have violated the Constitution by asking a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political opponent to advance his own political ambitions.
Talk of impeachment was far from the minds of some at the anti-impeachment, pro-Trump rally. Jim Walton called efforts to impeach the president “a bunch of Democratic lies.”
“See, I don’t care about that,” Walton said. “I care about abortion. I care about free enterprise. I care about border security. I don’t care about this diversion that the progressives are trying to divert from real policies that make America great.”
Like Walton, most of the people at the rally were among Trump’s diehard base, people like Dan Brophy: “I think Trump is the greatest president we’ve had since before Reagan.”
He said he supports the president’s policies across the board: “his economic policies, his regulatory policies, his views on abortion and his foreign policy. I guess I could go on and on, but I don’t have a list.”
Front and center on town square were a few women holding a “Women for Trump” sign. Rebecca Bextel didn’t need a sign to show her support. She waved an American flag in the air while her shiny Trump rhinestone necklace sparkled in the sun.
“I’m a huge Trump supporter,” Bextel said. “I love America and I love President Trump.”
Bextel said she read portions of the rough transcript between Trump and Zelensky and it is Biden that should be investigated. She sees the impeachment inquiry as a petty attack on Trump.
“I’m not understanding how Joe Biden, who we have on camera, bragging that he had six hours to fire the prosecutor in the Ukraine, got him fired. And then Donald Trump asks them to look into that and they’re trying to get Donald Trump for impeachment. The bottom line is the Biden family, the Clintons, they’re all corrupt.”
Cheers among the crowd intensified as Alex Muromcew, chair of the Teton County Republican Party, arrived with a message from U.S. Representative Liz Cheney: “Democrats have engaged in a shameful miscarriage of their duties,” Muromcew read from Cheney’s statement. “They have cast aside issues that are important to all Americans in an effort to undermine the president, because they don’t respect the fact that he won the election three years ago.”
The cluster of “Make America Great Again” hats was an unlikely scene for the town square, which, in recent years has played host to multiple progressive protests, from the women’s marches to the worldwide climate strikes. And there was some dissent. At least one booing cyclist pedaled by, and towards the end, three women not for Trump arrived with a sign that read exactly that.
Still, Trump supporters on the square drew notable support from honking and cheering motorists. The chorus of horns and enthusiasm suggest that the House’s impeachment inquiry has only deepened support among Trump voters in Teton County.