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How Trump’s Most Loyal Supporters Are Responding to the Verdict

U.S.How Trump’s Most Loyal Supporters Are Responding to the Verdict

The sense of grievance erupted as powerfully as the verdict itself.

From the low hills of northwest Georgia to a veterans’ retreat in Alaska to suburban New Hampshire, the corners of conservative America resounded with anger over the New York jury’s declaration that former President Donald J. Trump was guilty.

But their discontent was about more than the 34 felony counts that Mr. Trump was convicted on, which his supporters quickly dismissed as politically motivated.

They saw in the jury’s finding a rejection of themselves, and the values they believed their nation should uphold. Broad swaths of liberal America may have found long-awaited justice in the trial’s outcome. But for many staunch Trump loyalists — people who for years have listened to and believed Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that the system is rigged against him, and them — the verdict on Thursday threatened to shatter their faith in democracy itself.

“We are at that crossroads. The democracy that we have known and cherished in this nation is now threatened,” Franklin Graham, the evangelist, said in an interview from Alaska. “I’ve got 13 grandchildren. What kind of nation are we leaving them?”

Echoing him was Marie Vast, 72, of West Palm Beach, Fla., near Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. “I know a lot of people who say they still believe in our government,” she said, “but when the Democrats can manipulate things this grossly, and use the legal system as a tool to get the outcome they want, the system isn’t working.”

Among more than two dozen people interviewed across 10 states on Friday, the sentiments among conservatives were so strong that they echoed the worry and fear that many progressives described feeling after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade almost two years ago.


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