JACKSON, Ga. -- Georgia voters helped send Donald Trump to the White House in spite of the president elect’s well-catalogued missteps. But where critics saw fatal flaws, his supporters saw something human and even endearing.
"My reason to vote for Trump was essentially (as) a change agent," said Zack Sowell of Butts County. Sowell had followed all the Donald Trump stories –his rough talk, his blunt treatment of some ethnic and religious groups, his alleged encounters with certain women.
"And even with those character flaws, we as humans are all flawed," said Sowell, who cringed at the stories but also enthusiastically backed Trump. "No matter his character flaws, I thought he stood up to those, answered those questions, with his heart."
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Sowell spoke with us at lunchtime at Fresh Air Barbecue outside Jackson, in the heart of Georgia’s Trump country – where the candidate’s flaws were also part of his charm.
"He says a lot of things that we think but we’re not allowed to say because it’s not politically correct," said Leslie Stone. "And he’s not afraid to say it."
Trump finished with 70 percent of the votes cast in Butts County in the general election.
"I don’t feel he really had anything to apologize for. He was just honest and he said how he felt and I like that about him," said Brittany Campbell of Butts County.
"There were things he said you couldn’t defend, granted," said state Sen. Burt Jones of Butts County, who was one of Trump’s earliest backers.
Yet "he didn't back down when he was challenged on things," Jones said. "I think it’s very appealing to people. And then saying exactly what’s on his mind. And not trying to give people any kind of political talk."
Trump voters said yes, they were drawn to the Republican for some of his issues, like immigration and strength abroad. But they said they found his absence of political slickness especially refreshing, even when he faced withering criticism from Democrats and the news media.
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