Like many Trump fans, Hardaway and Richardson appreciate the candidate’s tough talk on illegal immigration. They like his promises to create jobs, secure the border, and keep the country safe from terrorism. “We already have problems in our country, so why are we bringing in more problems where people want to cut off our heads and kill us?” Hardaway asks. The sisters also insist that Trump has a unique ability to bring Democrats, Independents, and Republicans together as he works to “Make America Great Again.”
It’s a pitch that lines up with how Trump describes himself. “I think I’ll get along great with a lot of people,” Trump told an Iowa crowd earlier this month. “Before I was doing this, I got along with the Democrats, with the Republicans, with the liberals, with the conservatives. I get along with people.”
The idea that Trump could be a unifier-in-chief seems to clash with the brash style of his campaign. The billionaire has an apparently limitless ability to lash out at any opponent. He has been widely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States until, as the campaign puts it in an ad, “we can figure out what’s going on.” When his supporters reportedly attacked a protester at a November rally, Trump responded, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
Hardaway and Richardson see things differently. “When we go to a Donald Trump rally, it is phenomenal,” says Hardaway. “The energy, there’s unity in the room. Sometimes maybe one little protester will show up and that’s what the media will cover, but that’s not his rally. His rally represents unity. In that room, we know that we are one race, and that’s the human race, and we are united ... Everyone should get out and experience a Donald Trump rally.”
The sisters have appeared onstage at rallies for the candidate twice so far. “How great are they?” Trump gushed, gesturing toward Hardaway and Richardson at a December rally in their home state of North Carolina. “We endorse Donald J. Trump,” the pair yelled out in unison as Trump stood a few feet away looking amused and only slightly out of his element. “He’s a very passionate, humble man,” Hardaway says of meeting Trump. Earlier this month, the pair appeared onstage at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi. “All of our lives matter in this room, and we finally got a candidate that realizes that,” Hardaway called out, deploying a variation on a phrase often used by critics of the Black Lives Matter movement.
When asked if the Democratic Party has failed black Americans and Americans in general, Hardaway replies: “I think yes, yes. Listen, we keep voting for the same system that only hands us some crumbs and thinks that’s OK. We deserve more than crumbs; we need a slice of the cake … That’s why we look at Donald Trump. He can fix this mess. He can fix this economic mess. He can bring back opportunities for everyone.”