It’s not easy loving Donald Trump. The mainstream media is ever ready to attack your favorite presidential candidate, twist his words, take him out of context. Other people—friends, family, members of the Republican establishment—try to tear him down.
Then there’s Trump himself. The Republican frontrunner rises in the polls as he campaigns on an agenda many of his rivals are unwilling to endorse. On Monday, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S. in the wake of a deadly terror attack in San Bernardino. That willingness to be bold is what many of Trump’s fans love best. But it doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally cringe or feel conflicted as the candidate stretches the limits of what’s acceptable in American politics.
“I really am worried that if he keeps saying some of what he’s been saying he might drive people away,” Trump supporter Tina Collier said in an interview.
Collier was one of 29 men and women who convened at a nondescript office building in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday evening to talk about Trump for a focus group moderated by Republican strategist Frank Luntz. Most of the participants, identified by name tags that kept the conversation to a first-name basis, called Trump their No. 1 candidate. Supporters conceded that the real-estate mogul sometimes says things that don’t sit well, but they were quick to defend the Republican frontrunner all the same.