Parker County, Texas, is Donald Trump country, where 82 percent of voters cast their ballot for Trump.
In the rapidly growing county 30 miles west of Fort Worth, there isn’t a single Democrat holding elected office.
The residents of Parker County are ecstatic over Trump’s first month as president, and for many, there’s one issue that matters most: immigration.
They’re thrilled with Trump’s new executive order barring immigrants for a period of time from seven majority Muslim countries and his insistence on continuing the fight after his first attempt fizzled in court.
He needs to keep on keeping on with the border and illegal immigration.
Royce Peters, 65, of Weatherford, Texas
“He needs to keep on keeping on with the border and illegal immigration,” said Royce Peters, 65, a recently retired Weatherford, Texas, resident who was standing in line this week at a Rotary Club pancake dinner at the local high school. “He’s doing what he said he would do.”
Despite Weatherford, the county seat, lying 450 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump supporters are worried about the security of border and the prospect of terrorists entering the country.
“We need to stop immigration,” said Earl King, 86, a retired Air Force pilot who served in the Berlin Airlift and flew B-17 bombers in the 1940s and 1950s. “Our country’s in danger. His organization could take control and solve problems like illegal immigration, terrorism and Obamacare.”
As nearly 1,500 local residents poured into Weatherford’s cafeteria for a $5 pancake and sausage dinner, Lela Williams Morris was among about a half dozen local politicians handing out buttons and business cards for a local election coming up in May. The 65-year-old Morris is running for a non-partisan seat on the board of trustees at Weatherford College, a local community college where she worked as the director of testing before recently retiring.
Most people support his ideas about building a wall and keeping immigrants out.
Lela Williams Morris, 65, of Weatherford, Texas
“Immigration is the biggest issue people are talking about,” Morris said. “Most people support his ideas about building a wall and keeping immigrants out.”
“This immigration deal, it’s just a big mess and that spreads to everything else,” said 66-year-old Glenn Tilghman of Weatherford, who owns various businesses in North Texas and Arizona, including a restaurant and a business installing swimming pools. Tilghman said that immigrants living in the United States without documentation, along with a fear of terrorism, negatively impact the economy and put other people on edge, and he welcomes the executive orders and any future efforts from the Trump administration.
Many of the Trump supporters in Weatherford said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the worst possible candidate the Democrats could have chosen, and that polls before the election underestimated the hatred many Americans had for the Democratic nominee.
The group of folks I’m in with would like to see more from Trump. They like what they’re hearing.
Parker County, Texas, district judge Craig Towson
But even die-hard Trump supporters wish he’d cool it with the tweeting.
“I’d like to see him get off of that tweeter (stuff),” Tilghman said.
“I’m not a fan of his personality and the comments he’s made online,” King, a self-described “strong believer in God and Jesus” said, adding that he’s impressed with Trump’s family.
Parker County is part of Rep. Kay Granger’s district, a Fort Worth Republican who did not support Trump during the election, though this part of her district is solidly behind Trump.
Weatherford Trump supporters are like Texas Republicans as a whole. A recently released poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune shows that 81 percent of Texas Republicans approve of Trump’s actions during his first month in office.
“The group of folks I’m in with would like to see more from Trump,” said Parker County district judge Craig Towson. “They like what they’re hearing.”
Beyond immigration, there are other issues that matter to Parker County residents, including repealing the Affordable Care Act and working closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We need him (Trump) and Putin to play basketball together,” Peters said. “The sooner we’re able to hold hands with Russia, we will be better.”
But the health care law and Russia did not elicit the same emotion or hope Republicans have in Trump to curtail immigration.
Despite the love for Trump, Parker County residents are disillusioned with the conversation about hot-button political issues from both Republicans and Democrats.
“I have never seen the political arena in such a turmoil,” Tilghman said. “I used to come home and enjoy watching the 5 or 6 p.m. news.”
Tilghman said every policy issue is wrapped up in partisan politics and that it’s “gotten so entwined and deep-rooted there’s no set answer.”
“Politics has gotten too political,” Tilghman said.