After Donald Trump won the presidential election, I wrote this piece explaining why most suburban moms I knew voted for him. Hillary Clinton was counting on us—bigly—to vote her into the White House, but she only won the educated white women’s vote by five percentage points, a smaller margin than pundits and pollsters expected. It confounded the media: why would women like me vote for Trump?
Since Election Day, we’ve been heavily criticized by liberal women like Tina Fey, who recently snarked about how “a lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV.” (Remember that, my vapid soul sisters, the next time you think about shelling out $15 for one of her movies.)
As we close in on Donald Trump’s 100th day as president, I wanted to check in with friends who voted for him. They are all educated women, a few with advanced degrees. At some point, each one stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom: volunteering at school, tasking all the household chores, helping their kids make the team, pass the test, and/or get into college (without the help of nannies.) They are raising good human beings, something that isn’t easy even in the most privileged circumstances.
Via email, I asked them what grade they would give Trump, what they are the most pleased and dissatisfied with during his first 100 days, and what they’d like to see Trump’s administration accomplish before the end of this first year.
The Overall Letter Grade Is
Everyone gave Trump some form of a B, from B+ to B-: “There is always room for improvement, but he has to be the only elected official who is proactively doing what he campaigned on in record time,” said Liz G., an MBA from Notre Dame and mother of three boys. (I am not using last names to protect these women from the wrath of trolls and Tina Fey.)
His nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a crackdown on illegal immigration, and the attacks on ISIS were mentioned most among the women.
“I am most pleased with his travel ban and border patrol,” said Jackie O., a mother of two boys and small business owner. The first political event she ever attended was Trump’s infamous Chicago rally, which she said the media sensationalized. “I do believe America is a melting pot and this is what makes it so amazing. However, there are rules and protocols that need to be followed. The travel ban, although severe, is for our safety. There needs to be measures in place to ensure our safety.”
We’re Most Upset With
Responses were nearly unanimous: women said his failure to pass health care reform.
“My husband and I are both self-employed so we have been hit hard by Obamacare,” said Diane D., mother of two. “It is absolutely mind-boggling how much money we pay for insurance. I was unhappy with the proposal Republicans did come up with and glad to see it voted down. The promises he made on the campaign trail about repeal-replace will have to come to fruition, and soon.”
Aside from repealing Obamacare, some mothers mentioned an uneasiness with foreign policy. “I wish he would have spent more time aligning the U.S. with our allies and less time at Mar-a-Lago,” said Kelli C., mother of three. “I feel we may be in for some tumultuous times with North Korea and the Russia/Syria situation.”
Who’s to Blame For Our Country’s Divisiveness?
This question unleashed the lion. Everyone blamed the media, celebrities, and Democratic politicians.
“I think the country is nuts right now,” said Kelly T., mother of three and an MBA. “The celebrity condemnation of Trump is really frustrating. These people have no idea what they’re talking about. I think it’s embarrassing to our country the way so many public figures ridicule him. How is that going to affect the way other world leaders interact with the U.S.?”
“The media is so far skewed to the Democratic side, the public cannot truly even understand or evaluate the real issues at hand,” said Jackie O. “The media reports matters according to their own biased opinion or that of their respective networks, making it nearly impossible to get the real facts without additional research.”
“Democrats, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi,” said Diane D. “I really wish Republicans would spend more time calling out their hypocrisy. This is a reason [Trump] got into office, he fights back, but all Republicans should be doing this every day.”
What Trump’s Administration Should Do Next
It was a mixed bag: repealing Obamacare, tax reform, and stronger immigration policies were high on the list. Some women took aim at Trump’s often cringe-worthy style. “I wish he was more savvy with how he delivers his message,” said Rhonda O, mother of three. “He needs to be more presidential. He comes across as a loose cannon.”
Some mentioned Trump’s tweets: “He needs to really put thought into his tweets or have someone on his staff reviewing before sending them,” said Kelli C.
“Trump needs to control his own messaging because he’s not going to get a fair shake with the media,” said Liz G. “I wish he would have lessened the tweets, or hire a “Tweet Czar” to review before sending them out.”
As For Your Correspondent
Personally, I would give the president a C. He’s made some terrific appointments, particularly Scott Pruitt and Nikki Haley. But key posts at several federal agencies remain unfilled or stocked with Obama holdovers. His executive orders on deregulation—particularly getting rid of onerous, costly environmental rules—are encouraging. I think our enemies are on notice that the Obama era of empty threats is over.
But Trump’s public comments are often hasty, careless, and self-aggrandizing. His communications team is not much better, often stepping on their own message or creating controversy because they are not better prepared. And I am increasingly uncomfortable with the Trump family’s sway in the White House, particularly hiring staff at taxpayer’s expense.
For the most part, I think we feel pretty much the same as we did 100 days ago: nervous, hopeful, and disgusted at the destructive behavior of Democratic party leaders, from Washington to Hollywood. This seems unlikely to change in the next 100 days, or anytime soon.
But something tells me we will be watching fewer Tina Fey movies in the future.