I’m very careful about politics when traveling. The media far too often tells us that the rest of the world doesn’t like the US since Trump was elected. The “Italian for Dummies” web page even has the phrase, “Non siamo americani.” (We aren’t American.”)
But my experience has been different: a lot of Europeans think Donald Trump is right about border security and limiting immigration. And we’ve heard this from citizens of England and Italy, who go out of their way to express their support of President Trump.
Last month, a British couple stopped to admire our narrowboat on the Thames. When they found out we were Americans, they turned the conversation to politics, support for Brexit and praise for President Trump.
We picked up our car at the Rome Airport on Friday and it happened again. Out of the blue, the 30-something agent asked, “What about Trump?”
I deferred answering to Larry and braced myself for criticism or ridicule of the President from our new aquaintance.
Instead, our Roman friend volunteered his approval of Donald Trump and the “changes’ both our countries are making in response to international pressure to accept overwhelming numbers of refugees.
He talked about the inability to vet the refugees picked up at sea, the effects on Italy’s employment situation, and the financial stress the boat loads of immigrants were causing Italy before his government’s recent refusal to accept ships full of migrants at Italian ports.
He said, “Trump is making changes. People are afraid of change, but this is good change.”
None of the people we talked to – or who made it a point to talk to us – expressed hate or racism. They are worried about the future if their countries and disapprove of “Brussels” forcing regulations on them, not simply afraid of foreigners.
I wonder who’s listening.
(BTW, several different sets of Canadians have initiated similar conversations. All approved of the President and disapproved of Trudeau.)