“The swamp is full again. It’s actually fuller.”
Elise Foley Immigration & Politics Reporter, The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON ― Thousands of people on Twitter are following along as people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump begin to question their decision.
“I’m starting to feel like the biggest mistake of my young 23 years of life has been voting for [Trump],” Joseph Richardson tweeted on Nov. 21.
His post ended up being retweeted last week by an account called Trump Regrets, which Trump opponents watch to delight in seeing people come around to their opinion. Richardson heard from some of them ― a few who said the election result was his fault, others who thanked him for admitting his mistake.
All of it was a bit unsettling, he said afterward, although he knew that social media made his views public. He doesn’t like Trump’s Cabinet picks or the “very childish” behavior he exhibited at a press conference last week. And he does regret his vote. Sort of.
“If I went back now I’d probably still vote for Trump because I couldn’t vote for Hillary [Clinton],” he said, adding that he found Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s fiscal policies weaker than Trump’s. “I still think Trump would be the better candidate. I’d still regret it. I’d vote for him again but I’d still regret it.”
The Huffington Post talked to six Trump voters whose posts ended up on the Trump Regrets account. Many of them said they felt the president-elect had broken his promises about “draining the swamp” and prosecuting Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Others wish he would just stop tweeting. But like Richardson, they said they still wouldn’t choose Clinton if they could go back to Election Day.
“I don’t necessarily regret my choice,” said a man named Bill, who asked that his last name be withheld to prevent more Twitter backlash. “I regret that we didn’t have better choices as a country.”
Bill showed up on the Trump Regrets account for a post asking the president-elect to stop tweeting. He has since deleted his original tweet ― he was getting tired of the ire coming his way on Twitter, which he mostly uses to post about sports.
Bill said he would like Trump to act more like President Barack Obama, who he voted against twice but considers “an extremely honorable man who served the country fantastically.”
That was Trump’s whole thing: ‘We’re going to clean up Washington, we’re going to drain the swamp.’ The swamp is full again. It’s actually fuller. Scott Ford
Andrew, a 48-year-old who also asked that his last name be withheld, said he expects there will be “epic, Teapot Dome type of scandals” under Trump and does not think the president-elect has done enough to sever himself from his businesses. Andrew considers himself a libertarian ― fiscally conservative, socially liberal ― and said he voted for Obama twice. He struggled with whom to vote for until Election Day, but ultimately just didn’t like Clinton on domestic policy as much as he liked Trump.
Andrew said he regrets voting for Trump “a little bit.”
“Time will tell if I’m really going to start slamming my head against the wall and going, ‘Oh my goodness, what did I do?’” Andrew said.
Scott Grayban, 52, said he “almost blew a gasket” when Trump appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior adviser to the White House. “It’s not regret that I voted for Trump, it’s regret that Trump isn’t with the people who have experience,” Grayban said.
He was disappointed yet again over Trump’s “mind-boggling” dismissal of intelligence reports about Russia attempting to influence the election. Grayban said he fears there might be some sort of business or personal ties between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that his family members could be helping to cover them up.
“I’m thinking, ‘Oh, God, you can’t be this stupid,’” he said of watching Trump’s response to Russia interfering in the election. “But then I started to think, wait a second, maybe he’s got some kind of side deal going on with Putin that we don’t know about.”
Erica Baguma, a 23-year-old Canadian woman, created the Trump Regrets Twitter account. She said she was fascinated by Trump supporters because she’s never met one in person.
“When Trump announced he wouldn’t be pursuing an investigation of Clinton’s emails, I was surprised by the backlash from his base,” she said. “I started this account because I realized that the tweets by people starting to regret voting for Trump could tell me a lot about what was important to his voters.”
Bob Huff, 60, is one of those Trump voters who was outraged when he said he wasn’t going to follow through with his vow to pursue an investigation into Clinton’s handling of sensitive emails ― “Typical politician broken promises,” as he put it in a tweet that ended up on Trump Regrets.
“I would still vote for Trump over Hillary any day of the week,” Huff said. “I just wish he would follow through on all of the promises he made.”
Scott Ford said he wishes he had just skipped voting for president altogether, rather than casting his ballot for Trump. Ford said he voted for Democrats for 18 years and supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primary against Clinton. During the general election, he went back and forth on who to support. Ultimately, he chose Trump, and has gotten grief from friends and strangers for doing so.
Now he is concerned about Trump’s Cabinet picks, including former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general.
“I really thought this was going to be an election that was going to [create] change,” Ford said. “That was Trump’s whole thing: ‘We’re going to clean up Washington, we’re going to drain the swamp.’ The swamp is full again. It’s actually fuller.”
Amanda Terkel contributed reporting.