Wednesday 20 February 2019

'It would be hard to live in America right now'

Andrea Molloy with her daughter, Ann
Andrea Molloy with her daughter, Ann

Brendan Keane

Critics say he has caused racial tension, demeans women and utilises bully-boy tactics to get what he wants and supporters argue he has implemented 'needed to be done' tough policies in his efforts to 'make America great again' but whatever their personal opinion is of him for ordinary Americans their current leader is the most controversial President to ever enter the White House.

One born-and-bred Texan living in Wexford said President Donald Trump is an 'embarrassment' and as someone who is very proud of her country she feels something needs to be done as soon as possible to save the U.S.A.

Andrea Molloy, along with her husband, Malcolm, runs the Drew Fox Brewing Company in Clonard and though she has been living in Wexford for eight years and loves the community here she is very proud of where she comes and is worried for her country.

'I am a Texan, I was born in Dallas and I am proud to be an American but I am not happy with our current President,' Andrea told this newspaper.

Andrea met her husband, who is from Dublin, after moving to Chicago. It's a place, she says, embodies a lot of the 'false promises' made by Donald Trump during his election campaign.

'There are areas of the city where there are a lot of shootings and it's particularly tough for young people there and while he said he would do something about it the reality is he has done nothing.'

With them growing up in Texas it would be easy to assume that Andrea's family were Republicans but that's not the case.

'We are democrats and we were very big supporters of Obama,' she said.

When Donald Trump took over from the country's first ever African-American President it was a result that shocked the world and Andrea feels that even Mr Trump himself was surprised by it.

'I genuinely think he was surprised at the win and I don't think he himself thought he would win,' she said.

'I think he actually shocked himself, as well as the rest of us,' she added.

Andrea said it was important for her to vote in the election - in which she fully supported Hilary Clinton's campaign.

She agreed that the two candidates caused division among the electorate: 'Yes, I think a lot of people were divided in their opinion because while they didn't particularly support Trump they didn't like Hilary either and that caused problems.'

Andrea also agreed that if another candidate had secured nomination Donald Trump might not have gained the White House.

'That's true but unfortunately we are where we are now and he is there and I think it's a scary time for America,' she said.

'My sister was really upset; she was crying in Chicago and we just couldn't believe that the American people had voted him in.'

For Andrea the idea that a man who has been accused of being racist, bigoted and having a demeaning attitude towards women could be elected as the leader of the free world was hard to comprehend: 'It's hard to fathom that women actually voted for him.'

The negative image President Trump has created of her country has led to Andrea often having to defend the virtues of America.

'I think when people know you're American they automatically assume you're a Trump supporter and I find myself saying 'well, no, I'm actually a democrat and I don't support him at all',' she said.

'He portrays America in a very negative way and that's having a knock-on effect which is not good,' she added.

'I think there is increasing racial division there now and that's something that has occurred since he took over.'

Being half Mexican means racial tension in the U.S.A. is something Andrea is acutely aware of and takes an active interest in.

'I am Mexican too and growing up in Texas you would have seen a lot of illegal immigrants and my family own a Mexican restaurant in Dallas and there would have been people employed there,' she said.

One of the most recent Trump administration policies to receive worldwide condemnation was the separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents; as a mother it was something Andrea found appalling.

'It's just unbelievable that anyone would even think of doing such a thing,' she said.

'It's horrible but that's the way he is,' she added.

Andrea also feels President Trump's cosy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin could come back to bite him.

'I think the recent summit with the Russian President was significant and the way he backtracked on comments he made in the immediate aftermath of it was incredible,' she said.

'I think his comments in the wake of that meeting and how he expressed belief in the Russian President over his own Intelligence agency is something that democrats need to capitalise on,' she added.

'The fact that some Republicans have criticised that is very significant. I think Trump is someone who thinks personally rather than as an American President.'

She said trying to explain to her own children how the American people voted him in is difficult.

'When you go from Obama to Trump it really is going from opposite ends of the spectrum.'

Andrea agreed that in many ways President Trump seemed determined to undo everything President Obama had created, including Obamacare, from the moment he entered the White House.

'Yes that seems to be the case and they are such polar opposites as people,' she said.

'Obamacare was a means through which people who might not have been able to afford health insurance could get access to medicare,' she said.

With a family of five the cost of healthcare for the Molloys while in America was $900-a-month.

'I had one of the children in hospital once and it cost $20,000,' she said.

'That's something that not everyone can afford so in that regard Obamacare was a good thing and while Trump has done everything he can to dismantle it he hasn't created anything meaningful to replace it with,' added Andrea.

'I'm sorry but it's embarrassing that he is the President of the country that I am so proud of.'

Andrea's sister, Gabrielle, does a lot of work for the Obama Foundation and was also involved in decorating the White House for the Obamas when they moved in.

Andrea agreed that Donald Trump played on Americans' patriotism during his election campaign.

'Americans are very patriotic and he got to people using that point,' she said.

'He promised people a lot of things, especially those in their 50s, 60s and 70s, but he hasn't really done anything.'

President Trump received criticism for making fun of former POW, John McCain, while at the same time advocating the right to bear arms and the general views of the National Rifle Association.

America's ongoing problem with guns is something Andrea feels passionately about.

'There is a big gun problem there but then he is backed by them [the NRA] and he just calls for more guns to be introduced,' she said.

She said her children found it hard to get used to the amount of guns openly visible in society in America.

'You could be sitting in a restaurant and the person next to you could have a weapon on them; it's just not something that happens here,' she said.

'Here I can let my kids walk around town during the day but I do not know if I would have given my kids that kind of freedom in Chicago. I think it would be hard to live in America right now.'

President Trump's attempts to hinder the press and brand anything that's critical of him as fake news is also something Andrea is not happy about.

'I think it's scary to see the way the fake news tag is used and freedom of speech is being suppressed; freedom of speech is something that is supposed to be at the backbone of America,' she said.

'Nothing shocks me anymore and I think at this stage I am almost numb to it. He has set us back 20 years and it's embarrassing.'

The manner with which the President's children have benefited from his administration is another thing Andrea feels should be scrutinised.

'The thing about his administration is that never before has any President's children benefited so much from having their father in the White House,' said Andrea.

'He is the President but he is still being a businessman first-and-foremost.'

With regard to the future she believes Republicans will distance themselves from President Trump in the run up to the next election: 'I think Republicans will distance themselves and I definitely think democrats can benefit; I just know something needs to be done before it's too late.'

Wexford People

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