The silent Trump supporters who are no longer that silent

In the May 11, 2020 issue of the New Yorker, in an article titled How Greenwich Republicans Learned to Love Trump, Evan Osnos profiles the wealthy country-club Republicans who live in this enclave in Greenwich, Connecticut, home of the elitist Bush family and their friends, who originally thought of Donald Trump as nouveau riche and utterly gauche and beneath them. They have now been completely converted to him because of how much wealthier he has made them and because he says the racist and misogynist and xenophobic things that they always thought but felt that they could not say out loud because it would reveal to others that their publicly professed socially enlightened values were all a sham.

Here is one of many examples Osnos gives.

In early 2016, even before Trump was asserting his right to “locker-room talk,” he was denounced in Greenwich Time, the town’s daily newspaper, by Leora Levy, a prominent local fund-raiser. “He is vulgar, ill-mannered and disparages those whom he cannot intimidate,” she wrote. Levy—the latest winner of the Prescott Bush Award—was lending her support to Prescott’s grandson Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida.

Four years later, Trump signs are still scarce in Greenwich (population 62,600), but his supporters are easy to find. There is the first selectman—the local equivalent of mayor—and the chairman of the Greenwich finance board, as well as an ardent backer who serves in the state House of Representatives. Some local Republicans helped fund Trump’s Inauguration, and some joined his White House, including Linda McMahon, the former professional-wrestling executive who headed the Small Business Administration, and Hope Hicks, Trump’s longtime communications adviser. (She once captained the Greenwich high-school lacrosse team.) Others in town have abandoned their objections to Trump. Leora Levy, who called him vulgar in the local paper, took to applauding his “leadership” and quoting him on Twitter, where she adopted some of his rhetorical style. “america will never be a socialist country!!!” she posted. “we are born free and will stay free!!!” Last fall, Trump nominated her to be the American Ambassador to Chile.

This should not really be a surprise to anyone who has thought seriously about the politics of class. The veneer of noblesse oblige that wealthy people adopt has always been a very thin one whose main purpose is to hide the ugliness underneath until such time that the person thinks they can rip it away and take pride in showing their true selves. For these wealthy people, that time has arrived.


  1. bmiller says

    The core of Trump support has always also included the small city car dealers and lawyers and realtors who live in gated subdivisions and attend megachurches.

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