Locals’ messages to Trump

If you could say one thing to the president, what would it be?

If you could only say one thing to President Donald Trump, what would it be? That was the question we posed to people at random throughout the Tri-Lakes villages on Thursday.

Halfway through June, the polarizing Republican president from New York has served nearly 150 days, many of which have riled up his staunchest critics while also hardening his strongest supporters.

But beyond his presidential duties, Trump is just a man, just an American, just a New Yorker — one who visited Plattsburgh last April on a campaign tour that emphasized how he empathizes with everyday, working-class Americans.

So what do some of those working-class folk here within the Blue Line — say, grabbing coffee at a Stewart’s Shop or placing an order at McDonald’s — think of their president at this juncture in time? If Trump were to sit down at a bench in William Morris Park in the shade of Adirondack Carousel, what would Saranac Lakers say to him? If he were to stroll along the shore of Raquette Pond, what would Tupper Lakers tell him? And if he were to go for a stand-up paddleboard lesson on Mirror Lake, what would Lake Placid beach-goers want him to know?

Some respondents needed several moments to collect their thoughts before relaying long-winded, yet calculated responses. Others spouted out their take within seconds, pointed and succinct with their words.

From a 15-year-old Tupper Lake student to a local couple who has lived in the Tri-Lakes for nearly 16 combined decades, the responses the Enterprise received ran a wide spectrum and were eye-opening — particularly those who said they would choose not to say anything to their president. Other responses ranged from full-throated support of Trump to scathing criticism.

A pair of bikers from Quebec at the McDonald’s in Tupper Lake, overlooking Raquette Pond on a clear day, bluntly shared how they, as Canadians, view the U.S. under Trump’s leadership: “The rest of the world thinks it’s a joke,” they said.

What follows are the responses of 10 different Tri-Lakes locals, a tiny glimpse of how a politically divided region views its president:

Kial Thomas, 19, Saranac Lake:

“I would just ask ‘Why?’ Just, what are his intentions really, and just why he even bothered with what he’s doing. It’s all just really confusing right now.”

Andrew Cameron, 15, Tupper Lake:

“I’d say, ‘I like the ideas you have of getting America back to what it was and putting Americans first, but you are definitely going to get us into another war the way you are going about it.'”

Tracey Schrader, Saranac Lake:

“He’d be unreachable. It wouldn’t matter what I said to him because he wouldn’t even give it any credence or thought anyway, because I really feel like — I would actually, this is awful, but my first thought is, ‘You’re an idiot.’ I mean, that’s the first thought that (comes to mind). Or, ‘You’re an egomaniac.’ Either one. Don’t pretend to care, actually care.”

Bob Clement, 79, Tupper Lake:

“I have nothing against him; I never did. There’s not much I can say. He’s doing as good as he can do. He’s gotta have another week or two more. He’s doing the best with what he’s got to do. I’ve got no complaints so far. What he is trying to do is help the American public, and I don’t know that much about it.”

Sally Clement, 76, Tupper Lake:

“Yeah, he’s hanging in and doing OK, as far as we’re concerned.”

James Russell, 28, Tupper Lake:

“I would say: ‘Honestly, thank you for what you are doing because you are not afraid to actually speak up and have your own mind. A lot of people are afraid to do the actions they need to do, and you are one of the persons not afraid to step up and actually do what needs to be done. A lot of people are afraid.'”

Sonny Young, 70, Tupper Lake:

“I didn’t vote for him, and I don’t particularly like him. But he’s our president, and we should support him in any way we can. If I had the opportunity, I don’t think I’d even talk to him. Because I don’t like him. I don’t want to disrespect the president but, you know.”

Nichole Meyette, Saranac Lake:

“Stop being so divisive, and unite the country politically. Yesterday I was listening to the whole health care thing, how they were in a secret-door meeting trying to amend Obamacare, which, granted, Obamacare has its flaws and it doesn’t have its flaws. It has its good and bad. But I’ve been in politics before; I get how it works. I just think that Democrats and Republicans should not be the issue. The issue should be taking care of the people in the country. That is my opinion. I am neither Democrat or Republican, and I never will be.”

Eddie Sparks, 25, Lake Placid:

“Work to reform the tax structure across the country because taxes in New York are too high and it would equal everything out between everyone, basically. Just the way the economy is, it would pick it up, and people pay the same thing in each state. There aren’t any other problems here or there. I think you are doing a good job, absolutely.”

Chris Plank, 73, Lake Placid:

“My mother always said if you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all about ’em. So, chances are, I wouldn’t say anything to him. But, boy, I would sure like to see him work for the people instead of himself once in a while.”

Share your message

In the spirit of democracy, we ask you, the reader, to consider for yourself: If Donald Trump joined you for coffee and you could only say one thing to him, what would it be? Feel free to share your “Message to Trump” in a comment to this article on the Enterprise’s website and/or Facebook page.

Who knows? Maybe he’ll read it.