‘Happy with this president’

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Sandi Sterker cheers at the end of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    LaVerne Bessert smiles and claps as she listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday at Mariachi’s Mexican restaurant in Lihue with fellow Republicans.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Montgomery Yuri applauds as he watches President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday at Mariachi’s Mexican restaurant in Lihue.

LIHUE — When President Donald Trump wrapped up his State of the Union address Tuesday, Sandi Sterker rose from her seat, raised her arms, pumped her fists and then applauded. She had a big smile and seemed near tears.

“It gave me goosebumps, especially right at the end,” she said. “I thought it was a wonderful, bipartisan speech. I thought he put out the facts of what we’re looking at for keeping America strong. I am very happy with this president. He really thinks about us as American people.”

Sterker was one of about 25 Republicans who gathered at Mariachi’s Mexican restaurant in Lihue to watch the president’s speech on two big screen televisions.

It was a fired-up, passionate crowd who cheered, clapped, and shouted their support for Trump throughout his one hour and 22 minute address. They withheld responding to hecklers who shouted a few remarks from outside the dining room.

There were frequent outbursts of “Yes, yes,” and “Yeah,” as the president spoke.

At one point, they broke into a chant, “Build that wall, build that wall.”

At another, they yelled in unison, “USA, USA.”

When Trump said, “We will never be a socialist country,” some pounded on the table.

When he talked of prohibiting late-term abortion, one woman rose from her chair and applauded.

When a closeup of a frowning Sen. Bernie Sanders filled the screen, they jeered, laughed and whooped.

Later, Trump talked about U.S. troops in the Middle East.

“Bring them home,” shouted a man as he clapped.

When the president finished his speech, some in the group at Mariachi’s gave him a standing ovation.

Ada Koene liked what she heard.

“I thought it was very strong,” she said. “I think he had it right to try to unite the two parties. I’m getting very sick of them fighting.”

Koene said she found the speech to be one that both sides could support and come together.

“I liked everything and so did the other people,” she said. “You can see they were all standing.”

Montgomery Yuri said the speech was every bit as good, perhaps even better, as ones delivered by Ronald Reagan, the country’s 40th president who was known for his oratory skills.

“I loved that he stressed that America is a sovereign nation and what makes it a sovereign nation is secure borders,” he said.

Yuri said he served in the European military and protected borders in the 1970s, so he understands how important strong borders are to a country.

“He hit everything right on point,” he said. “He pointed out women in power, 58 percent. How many women realize that?

“This is history in the making,” Yuri added.

Steve Yoder, chair of the Republican Party of Kauai, said Trump did a good job talking about many issues, including calling for unity, which seemed to earn the support of Democrats in Congress, as they even applauded at times.

“He’s doing his best to unite. He’s doing everything a president should to negotiate,” Yoder said.

“I don’t think it’s build a wall,” he added. “I think we should finish a wall. Obama put up fences. So did Clinton, so did Bush. Because it’s Trump, they don’t want to do it. The man wants to secure our country.”

  1. Ken Conklin February 6, 2019 4:00 am Reply

    Many thanks to Bill Buley for telling the truth about public response to Trump’s magnificent speech. Sourpuss Mazie embarrasses us with her blind, bitter hatred.

    1. Steven McMacken February 6, 2019 11:36 am Reply

      And what would be the reason for Bill Buley not telling the truth, Ken? He’s reporting what occurred in a room full of Trump supporters. But, “magnificent speech”? That’s a stretch . . . and a loooong one at that.

    2. Citizen Cane January 8, 2021 3:42 pm Reply

      Always amazes me how Trump supporters see well-articulated opposition to their man as “blind hatred” or TDS. Always whipping out the “your just deranged” /“haters!” card while apparently unable to come up with a valid counter-argument. Time will out the truth. The man is a danger to our country and our democracy.

  2. behappy February 6, 2019 4:12 am Reply

    It was a unifying speech. Unfortunately many do not want to come together as a nation, they prefer to hang onto the differences. I was obvious from the group of women who sat together emotionless and ignored even the most unifying parts in his speech. Their leader chose to use disparaging expressions. It’s a sad day for our nation when hate overcomes love and it’s broadcast for all to see. Let’s work together, compromise and start showing a little love!

  3. Steve February 6, 2019 6:26 am Reply

    WOW, a very united message! Perhaps we all would benefit from meeting in the middle, no one wins if we are a divided country. Very clear last night that socialism in America is DOA, how on earth are some of those folks being elected in the first place.

    For those that will continue to divide, just vote in 2020 the way they did things in the old days if you didn’t like the president who held office. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and others are only looking to divide and then monetize fake news.

  4. gordon oswald February 6, 2019 7:59 am Reply

    It was the best State of the Union Speech in decades! A side benefit was watching the Democrats acting like little children with their sitting, arms folded, sullen mugs out there for the entire Country to see. Not one Rat stood for calling an end to late term abortions?? Of course, if we found a bacteria on Mars the Democrats would be cheering wildly because there is life on Mars, ask them to protect a heart beat and it isn’t life, it’s a mass of cells worth inhumanely destroying. What a bunch of hypocritical dolts destroying everything that has made our Country the envy of the world!

    1. Steven McMacken February 6, 2019 11:27 am Reply

      Another hysterical comment driven by ignorance, rather than facts. But that is what we’ve come to expect from you. Late-term abortions comprise less than one percent of all abortions and are performed ONLY if the fetus is not viable, or the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for a change. Wouldn’t you want to have those options available to you, too, if you were a woman?

  5. jake February 6, 2019 8:08 am Reply

    I once worked for Trump. You are all in serious denial about the monstrosity you’ve put in charge of your futures and the futures of your children and grandchildren. Al Capone would have been a better choice.

    1. Billy Willsie February 7, 2019 4:21 am Reply

      Fortunate that you no longer work for Trump. Maybe you can carry on your future in Venezuela and not have to live here.

  6. MICHAEL WEHRLY February 6, 2019 8:20 am Reply

    Right on

    1. YVONNE KEALOHA February 6, 2019 1:03 pm Reply


  7. LMat February 6, 2019 8:59 am Reply

    Go figure, a room full of old white people applauding a greedy, imprudent, self-involved bigot. The choice of venue is funny though (or a metaphorical slap in the face…?).
    While you all enjoy your tacos, your president just ushered in a new nuclear arms race. North Korea was just smoke and mirrors, the Wall is an easy distraction… We’re heading in a bad direction.

    1. behappy February 6, 2019 5:53 pm Reply

      May you find some love in your heart! Time to let go of that bitterness!

  8. Rev. Dr. Malama February 6, 2019 9:39 am Reply

    No cure for insanity….. and the IRONY OF HOLDING THE GOP RALLY IN A TEX MEX RESTAURANT….. God, help us all!

  9. Patrick H Flores February 6, 2019 11:46 am Reply

    Our president stating what he and we believe in for the good of our nation. Those who find reasons to object, what parts do you disagree with and why, Abortion/murder of innocent babies? Defense of our nation by our military and Border Patrol? Never to be a socialist nation? Patrick Flores, Kapaa

  10. Peter Rath February 6, 2019 11:48 am Reply

    They just don’t see how white the Grand Old White People’s Party really is ! #OhSoWhite #NotMyValues

  11. Pete Antonson February 6, 2019 12:00 pm Reply

    Reminds me of Nixon’s 1974 State of the Union speech. Remember “One year of Watergate is enough!” Ha Ha Ha Remember how soon he was gone.

  12. MGH February 6, 2019 1:12 pm Reply

    Wow… Pathetic

  13. Geckoman February 6, 2019 4:25 pm Reply

    Always the blinded democrats throwing their name calling when they have no credible argument against. The whole bigot thing is a crutch to your hypocrisy. He has improved the lives of non-whites more than any other president in history other than Lincoln. The only thing these media monkey democrats can do is resort to name calling due to their trump derangement syndrome.
    He has America’s best interests at heart.

  14. Kauaidoug February 6, 2019 4:31 pm Reply

    Wasn’t the poorly delivered flat speech I heard. The man is a CROOK, under investigation for how many illegal possibilities? Lost his defense secretary. Reading this article just shows how out of touch those people are especially thinking this was a unifying speech,NOT. UNBELIEVABLE!

  15. behappy February 6, 2019 4:56 pm Reply

    As I said earlier, hate overcomes love for those who want to remain divided. Shaming people for their color (all colors count) and what they have or do not is another way of dividing. The comments about eating at a Mexican restaurant are over the top. There will be no uniting until the hate stops!

  16. Surferdude February 6, 2019 6:17 pm Reply

    All 25 Trump supporters on Kauai showed up. Solid.

    1. Francine Grace February 8, 2019 9:40 am Reply

      Totally agree with you on that one Pete. Hopefully, it won’t be too long for Trumpty Dumpty to be impeached!!
      Worst POTUS ever!!

  17. andy February 6, 2019 10:47 pm Reply

    Too bad he lies constantly.

  18. Jc February 7, 2019 8:18 am Reply

    How absolutely rude to be chanting Build that Wall in a Mexican Restaurant.

    1. Francine Grace February 8, 2019 9:42 am Reply

      jc…Seems the Trump way. Ignorance is Bliss.

  19. Steve February 7, 2019 5:15 pm Reply

    There has never in our history been such a divisve figure in American politics and to see Trump’s teleprompter-lip-service-to-bipartisanship as anything but disingenuous, Steven-Goebbels-Miller-agitprop is naiive….. oh, wait—yes there has been! His name: Joe McCarthy. And the line from McCarthy to Trump went straight thru Joe’s henchman and Trump’s mentor— Roy Cohn. ….Ah, yes, “All the best people,” people!

  20. Respect Life February 7, 2019 7:25 pm Reply

    Lets see 1.5 Million Abortions annually and 1% late term well lets do do the math…

    Late Term abortions could be considered far more dangerous than live birth.
    “At this point, termination of pregnancy is considered a far more dangerous procedure and carries with it serious risks of complication.”
    Dr. Ahern Boulder Abortion Clinic third Trimester Abortion.

    A 3rd Trimester abortion takes at least 2-4 days. 2-3 days of laminaria insertion to soften the cervix, then the Digoxin poison to kill the baby (feticide) is done which could take up to 24 hours then labor and delivery of a dead baby.
    Laws such as New York may now will allow dismemberment (partial birth) of the baby rather than an intact delivery.

  21. Citizen Cane January 2, 2021 1:18 pm Reply

    Really illustrates how we paste on to our candidates all our wishes and dreams, and invest them with the attributes we suppose they carry for us and our vision of the world. For how else can you explain “tears and goosebumps” for a man so willing to embrace the darker angels of our nature, so bereft of morals, decency, honesty, of feeling for others, of respect for our constitution, laws, traditions, allies, treaties, promises, and the dignity of the marginalized and less fortunate of the world? The answer is these people are either really naive, or that they’re simply proud to stand up and applaud their own bigotry.

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