Kauai residents express mixed feelings about performance of country’s leader

LIHUE — Verna Kawaihalau fears what life will be like for future generations with President Donald Trump running the country.

“He’s playing with everybody’s lives. He reminds me of a dictatorship. … It’s not what the people want anymore,” said the Wailua Homesteads resident. “I think we, as a nation, hope that people realize what this man really stands for, and it’s not for us. He’s playing a very dangerous game.”

It’s been 100 days since President Trump has been in office, and it’s safe to say locals have mixed feelings about his performance.

Kawaihalau, 70, worries Trump will lead America into World War III and that there won’t be anything left for her family.

“My life is almost over. It’s not really going to affect me, but it will the generations to come and that’s the sad part,” she said. “What’s happening now scares the hell out of me.”

With Trump’s approval rating flirting around the 40 percent mark, some locals expressed concerns with his policies and what will come after his first 100 days, while others said they are in a wait-and-see mode.

“I’m cautious about where we’re headed. I’m just trying to be aware of what’s going on,” said Jamie Kai, a Lawai resident. “I think he could be doing a better job, but I mean, we’re still here so maybe he’s not doing that bad.”

Thomas Lopez, a Lihue resident, said people should not rush to conclusions about the newly-elected commander-in-chief.

“He hasn’t been in office long enough. We don’t know him. If he had more experience in office, in the Senate, that kind of thing, then maybe I would have considered voting for him,” Lopez said. “But at that this point, I know nothing about him except that he’s filthy rich.”

Some residents who spoke with TGI Friday said they didn’t vote for Trump.

Lihue resident Vincent Kenney said he voted for Hillary Clinton, but has turned the corner since Trump has taken office.

“Actually, I think he’s doing a good job now with just some things that he’s done, things that he’s implemented and things that he’s going to do,” Kenney said. “I’m a little concerned with the whole North Korea thing, but I think he’s actually doing a pretty good job. He changed the way I felt about him.”

While he did say he supports Trump and hopes he does a good job in office, Kenney said he has room for improvement.

“I think he has to listen to his cabinet, listen to the people who know best and put his ego aside and just follow through with what he’s going to do,” he said.

When asked about Trump’s health care repeal, Kenney laughed.

“That’s a big mess,” he said, “but I wish him luck.”

Hanapepe resident Wallace Nishimura said he tries not to keep up because he gets disappointed everyday.

“There’s a lot of things he talks about that aren’t going to happen,” Nishimura said. “A lot of things he talks about is not going to work.”

When asked to expand on some aspects of Trump’s tenure as president that he disapproves of, Nishimura pointed to the amount of time Trump has spent outside the White House.

“I don’t know how true it is, but I think he spends more time on the golf course than he does in his office,” Nishimura said. “He spends more money on Secret Service protecting his family than Obama did in eight years. And when you look at all the stuff he’s trying to make it happen, it’s not going to work. We’re going to go broke pretty soon.”

Utilizing the resources at his disposal is something Lihue resident Genie Carvalho said Trump needs to take advantage of, but Mary Rich disagrees. She said his personality and ego will get in his way.

“I’m not really a Trump fan. I haven’t really cared for him much but I’m watching carefully, hoping that things get better. But I’m losing hope in that,” Rich said. “He looks like he’s at the top of the pedestal, and there’s space in between us and him. It’s just who he is, I think.”

Although she disapproves of his overall performance as president, Rich did say that on occasion, she supports some of the things he does and says as long as it pertains to improving the lives of others.

“I do like the idea that he looks like he wants to go after things for improvement, but with global warming, oil and opening up possible exploration of it off the coast, just no,” Rich said.

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