They report pain every day, due to the lingering effects of injuries at “Trump” casinos.
Yet, they love him anyway—and they want him to be president.
They were victims who lost the ability to pursue personal injury claims because of Trump entities’ bankruptcies. But despite the incredible financial suffering they say they had to personally endure, they still believe that he is the solution to the nation’s ills.
In 2008, Carmella Worton, a resident of Toms River, New Jersey, fell in a Trump Taj Mahal stairwell after a frayed rug caught the heel of her shoe, flipping her forward and tearing the meniscus in her knee and injuring her jaw with what she said was diagnosed as aggravated Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Of course, Trump wasn’t personally involved in the incident. But he was the brand name behind the business, and thus the target of some frustration.
“Yes, he owes me money,” Worton told The Daily Beast.
She filed a $100,000 claim but said she received just $5,000—the 2009 bankruptcy of Trump Entertainment Resorts made it so that she was given just pennies on the dollar. Her knee is still in serious pain, with “permanent problems,” because she could not afford to pay the thousands of dollars to finish the necessary medical treatment, she said.
But despite it all, she added, “I love the man.”
For her pain and suffering, Worton feels Trump owes her big time. But in increasingly urgent tones, the registered Democrat began proselytizing for Trump, excusing the thousands of dollars she claims to have been short-changed—all for the political agenda she believes the businessman would bring to life.
“I don’t care what he owes me. That’s irrelevant to what I feel about him in the long run… if [filing bankruptcy is] what the guy had to do, that’s what he needed to do,” she told The Daily Beast. “He’s still a survivor, and still is on top.”
Worton yearns for the America of decades past, before outsourcing became a trend—and presumably before she injured herself on one of Trump’s properties.
“Him being in power will change a lot for America. We need to make America whole. We are not whole, we are nothing, we are a nobody. You go and talk to your cable company, you’re talking to another country. This country has allowed outsourcing to take American jobs away,” she said. “He’s a real true blue American. He doesn’t care about the overseas. He doesn’t care about friendliness—enough of the friendliness.”
Another Trump fan, Patrick Vincent, 83, claims he fell down the stairs at a Trump property in August 2013, seriously injuring his arm.
“My arm turned completely black,” the Parlin, New Jersey, resident said. As the years have passed he claims to have seen doctor after doctor, been to appointment after appointment of physical therapy.
“It’s still not the same,” he said mournfully. His lawyer had attempted a claim of $175,000 through a personal injury legal action, but the 2014 bankruptcy of Trump Plaza Associates, which runs the Trump Taj Mahal, and a late claim prevented him from claiming money for his medical bills and suffering. At this time, Trump was no longer running the casino—and even sued the casino, claiming it was not good enough to bear his name—but the casino still licensed his name.
“I lost $175,000 and I’m a poor man, but I love him. We got a lot of retards in this county, but Donald Trump is the man who is going to help the people… I ain’t going against him,” Vincent said.
Their stories give a window into the sometimes confusing political choices of Trump supporters who despite perceived personal reasons to oppose him, like him too much to do so.
“It’s your individual self-interest versus the country as a whole—and that’s the definition of patriotism, to put the country before yourself,” said Dr. Stanley Renshon, a professor at the City University of New York who specializes in the psychology of political behavior. “A lot of people who support Trump or are open to his ideas, without necessarily supporting him personally, are people who are very concerned about the direction of this country and want to do something about it… They are upset with Trump with a person, but they believe that this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
Throughout the primary season, The Daily Beast has encountered voters who surprisingly supported Trump. Eduardo Gonzalez, a Cuban-American in the Las Vegas suburbs, said he voted in the primary for the first time: not for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, the two Cuban-Americans then running for the GOP nomination, but for Trump, the man who has offended many Hispanic Americans with his rhetoric and policies.
Denny Gajowiak, a Michigan-based mechanic for the shipping industry who could lose his job if Trump were to follow through on his suggestion of tariffs on overseas goods, also expressed support for the mogul.
“He wants America back the way it used to be—patriotism, and being proud of seeing our flag,” he told The Daily Beast.
And Indiana Republican primary voters acted against the supposed best interest of their state’s economy when they handed Trump a victory in their state. His opposition to free trade seemed not to matter—or even benefitted him—in a state where manufacturing exports is critical to the economy.
For some voters, experts explained, a person’s political beliefs overshadow everything else in their voting behavior—even their own personal circumstances.
“The person’s belief system trumps everything else in their thinking. In other words, it’s more important—their ideology—because they relate to that person and that’s more important than themselves… they will like that person come hell or high water,” explained Dr. Bart Rossi, a political psychologist and CEO of the Rossi Psychological Group.
In all these cases voters seem willing to vote for some greater ideal, setting aside their individual circumstances to put faith in a politician—in this case, the dubious promises of Donald Trump.