While much of the country blamed President Donald Trump for the government shutdown, the political stunt only further cemented the support of a small chunk of Americans, according to The Associated Press.
Some Trump supporters were pleased to see a paring back of the federal government — even if it was only for 35 days — and felt little sympathy for many federal workers who were negatively impacted.
"I want less government. That's what we're getting," said [71-year-old mechanic Terry] Rose, who was having lunch with a group of friends in Fort Hancock, an enclave with fields of cotton, alfalfa and chili peppers just across the border from El Porvenir, Mexico. "I'm understanding about federal employees, but if you're 'non-essential' it's hard to feel too badly for you."
Rose considers himself a conservative and not a Republican, but concedes he almost always votes GOP. He said he feels for those who missed paychecks: "I don't want to be mean to them, but it's really a system that's overburdened, out of control."
Nearly half of the 800,000 federal workers going without pay during the shutdown were deemed non-essential and furloughed, leading many Trump supporters to conclude those positions are unnecessary in the first place.
Even as it eroded the president's approval rating, the shutdown energized a segment of the Republican base that has for decades heard GOP presidential hopefuls vow to abolish the IRS and mothball the departments of Education, Energy or Interior or many other agencies, without actually accomplishing anything close. It's a reminder that should Trump choose a shutdown again, as he threatened Friday, he is likely to have some supporters cheering him on.
Gene Henderson also viewed the shutdown in a positive light. The 69-year-old Vietnam veteran and former border patrol agent told the AP he believes the shutdown will help ensure Trump’s victory in 2020.
"People sent him up there to stop all this stuff and to drain the swamp," Henderson said of Washington. "And he'll be sent up there again."
Rose is worried that the U.S. will become overrun by immigrants, “like Europe”, if Trump loses re-election or Congress fails to compromise:
Sitting at Angie's Restaurant, which specializes in "Mexican and American food," including burritos and cheeseburgers, Rose said he still pins his hopes on Trump.
"If Trump gets another four years and a Congress that can work with him, we can save the country," he said. "If not, it will become like Europe. Out of control."