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Trump, more than ever

President Donald Trump's most ardent champions are sticking by him, happy to absolve him of any wrong in the blame game over the deadly weekend violence at a rally of white supremacists.

Some Republican members of Congress have criticized Trump's back and forth response since a car slammed into a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people. Trump's insistence that "both sides" bear responsibility for the violence has sparked anger among many Americans.

The president's statements have also given some supporters pause. But many of the people who helped elect Trump seem unfazed by the outcry over his statements concerning the protest and counter protest over removing a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Trump on Thursday bemoaned growing efforts to topple monuments to Confederate war heroes, saying that the United States is watching "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart."

The enthusiasm of many of the president's core supporters has been noted in the past. Trump himself boasted during the campaign last year he "could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

Such unflagging support remains despite polls that show his approval rates dipping overall.

In Sun City, Arizona, a retirement community and Trump stronghold north of Phoenix, 80-year-old John Libby said nothing the president has done since Election Day has changed his support for the man.

"I would vote for him again in a heartbeat," Libby said.

Patricia Aleeyah Robinson, a retired truck driver from Toledo, Ohio, said her support of Trump has cost her friendships and strained family relationships.

But like many of the president's most passionate supporters, the 63-year-old black woman said her opinions about Trump have not changed since his response to the violence at the Charlottesville rally.

"He has done nothing to turn me away from him," said Robinson. She said he doesn't defer to racists and feels he is the only president who has ever spoken directly to blacks.



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