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Iowa Republican Voters React To Trump's State Of The Union Address

NOEL KING, HOST:

President Trump delivered his State of the Union address last night, and our co-host David was watching, far from Washington.

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: I was in Madison County, Iowa, where President Trump won big in 2016. Diane Fitch is a county supervisor there. And she was watching the end of President Trump's speech on Fox with some friends, all of them Trump supporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come. Thank you.

(CHEERING)

GREENE: So this is when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech. On Twitter, later, Pelosi called it a manifesto of mistruth.

HEATHER STANCIL: Ooh. Oh, my gosh. I think that was his speech.

GREENE: That's Heather Stancil. She's a telecom engineer. Our host Diane was also appalled by Pelosi.

DIANE FITCH: We're Iowans. Iowans are nice. We wouldn't have done that. It was just disrespectful.

GREENE: Nancy Pelosi crossed a line, you're saying, by ripping up the speech.

STANCIL: Absolutely.

GREENE: Well, I mean, let me ask you where your line is with Trump. A few years ago, he made fun of a physically disabled reporter.

FITCH: That was taken out of...

STANCIL: That's fake news.

FITCH: That's fake news. And it makes us angry when I can see the context. I'm like, how is this spreading? How can this be - how can this happen?

GREENE: But this is so interesting. It's, like, two different realities. To people who criticize the president, it's like, it was pretty clear that he was mocking him. But in - but you're...

STANCIL: Why is that so offensive to you? Why are you so morally outraged for somebody else?

KATHY BEMISDARFER: They called us deplorables.

GREENE: So this here is Kathy Bemisdarfer.

BEMISDARFER: Yes.

STANCIL: Yeah. Hillary.

BEMISDARFER: And they don't care because we're just...

STANCIL: Bigots.

BEMISDARFER: We're bigots.

STANCIL: We're racists.

BEMISDARFER: Or racists because we might not agree. They call us terrible names.

FITCH: Absolutely.

BEMISDARFER: Why is that any different?

FITCH: So I guess I would ask you, does that cross a line?

GREENE: So you feel judged and feel like he is sticking up for you...

BEMISDARFER: We are judged.

GREENE: ...When you're judged.

GRETA MCNAIR: Right. I don't feel as though I'm judged; I know I'm judged.

GREENE: You're hearing now from Greta McNair, a registered nurse.

MCNAIR: My family is judged, and people of Iowa are judged.

BEMISDARFER: And if you're a Christian...

STANCIL: Oh, yeah.

BEMISDARFER: ...You're really judged.

STANCIL: If you're white, you're judged.

GREENE: If we're at a point in our country where you feel constantly judged, you feel like you're accused of being bigots if you're supporting President Trump - there are a lot of Democrats who hear him and think that he's being racist. I mean, it's like - that's just a lot. Like, how - what can he do this year to bring this country together and somehow figure out a way to make people less angry or feel less judged or...

BEMISDARFER: Why do you say him?

FITCH: It should be us. Not him. It should be us.

GREENE: Because he's the - I mean, he's the president. But you tell me.

STANCIL: It should be us.

MCNAIR: I don't know if there's anything more he can do.

FITCH: Believe it or not, we talk to Democrats in this county.

BEMISDARFER: Every Christmas, all of our neighbors come here.

FITCH: And we tease each other about our different candidates and stuff like that. But we go home, and we go to barbecues, and we go to church, and we have dinner with each other, and that's how America is supposed to be.

BEMISDARFER: Our girls are far-left-wing liberals. I think they're both nuts. But I don't...

(LAUGHTER)

BEMISDARFER: But I love them.

GREENE: Well, then, what can Iowa teach the rest of the country right now?

FITCH: Get over it. You don't think people have made fun of us because we're blond? I knocked on a door and said, I'm campaigning for public office, and the man said, you're just a little girl; I can't vote for you. And he said, you have to have a man. I said, here's the deal - I have a pair; mine are above the belt.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: That was Diane Fitch. We also heard from Heather Stancil, Greta McNair and Kathy Bemisdarfer in Madison County, Iowa.

(SOUNDBITE OF TESK'S "HIDEOUT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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