For Trump base, it’s easy to shrug off Comey turmoil

SHARE For Trump base, it’s easy to shrug off Comey turmoil

State Rep. John Cabello, addressing an Illinois Republican Party breakfast at the Republican National Convention. | Tina Sfondeles / Sun-Times

State Rep. John Cabello, a Republican from the Rockford area who co-chaired Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Illinois, hasn’t lost faith in his man.

Quite the opposite.

“He still has 110 percent of my support,” Cabello told me. “I think he’s doing unbelievably great things.”

It should come as no surprise that Trump’s most-committed supporters remain committed four months into a presidency that so far has been dedicated mainly to meeting their expectations.

But it still bears highlighting following this past week’s furor in Washington over the firing of FBI Director James Comey and its possible impact on the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Comey’s abrupt dismissal and the Trump administration’s conflicting explanations have fueled Democratic outrage and a news media feeding frenzy with comparisons to Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

Before anyone retreats completely into their social media echo chamber, certain that Trump’s presidency will soon fall, it’s worth remembering that polling shows a nearly equal percentage of the population is experiencing a completely different reality.

“Stop playing politics, and help the president move the country forward,” said Cabello, calling out what he sees as Democratic hypocrisy over Comey’s firing.


Cabello, who was a Rockford police officer before entering the Illinois Legislature, said he has confidence in federal law enforcement to continue, without Comey, to pursue any evidence of Russian interference.

Just the same, he does not believe there is any such evidence and thinks the time would be better spent investigating what he believes were illegal wiretaps by the Obama administration.

Two other Trump delegates to last year’s Republican National Convention told me Comey’s firing could have been handled better, but they said that does not detract from their overall favorable opinion of Trump’s presidency.

“I think it should have been done face-to-face” and probably within the first week after the inauguration, said Mark Fratella, a middle school teacher from Elmhurst.

But Fratella, who was elected a Trump delegate from the Fifth Congressional District, said Trump has been the “president I expected him to be” and praised his handling of everything from health care to the travel ban.

Linda Lucchese of Park Ridge said Comey’s firing “could have been done nicer” but said the criticism of Trump comes mostly from those who are “jealous” of his success.

Lucchese, who describes herself as a political novice who became a Trump delegate as a “fluke” after signing up early for his campaign, said the Russia business is “fake news.”

“I have never heard of any president being dissected like they are him,” she said.

Most of you reading this will know that my own opinions about Trump are very different (worst president of my lifetime), but I want to be respectful of these folks for expressing their views.

James Comey pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill on May 3, days before President Donald Trump fired him as FBI director. | AP

James Comey pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill on May 3, days before President Donald Trump fired him as FBI director. | AP

Though Comey’s firing is troubling, what’s most important to me is that we get an honest, thorough investigation of the Russian matter. That has to be allowed to play itself out, preferably through a special prosecutor.

That does not mean I question the legitimacy of Trump’s election.

He’s the president. The American people voted for him, at least in enough states to give him an Electoral College majority.

If some of those voters were manipulated into voting for Trump based on the Wikileaks dump of Hillary Clinton’s emails or by untimely remarks from Comey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

At the same time, the notion that the Russia investigation needs to be brought to a swift conclusion when it’s just getting started is absurd, as are the conclusions many on my side of the political fence are making about Trump’s guilt based on so little real information.

A proper investigation could take years to complete, and I’d suggest that nobody prejudge the outcome.


• President Donald Trump is ‘dangerous,’ Sen. Dick Durbin says

• Spicer says Trump’s Twitter warning to Comey ‘speaks for itself’

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