Fool or hero? Australians in America bridge their divides over Donald Trump

Gun Rights

But to Rosemary, the US President is a “gigantic fool” with a proven track record of encouraging “illegal behaviour”. While she is not particularly impressed with the Democrats’ offering in Joe Biden, “anyone has got to be better than that buffoon”.

Rosemary says she was surprised when Mr Trump contracted COVID-19 and despite her feelings about his leadership, she hopes he will make a quick recovery. His handling of the diagnosis has been “typical Trump – all show with no substance”, she says, and she’s frustrated by his refusal to lead by example and wear a mask. Alec, however, believes Mr Trump handled the situation well.

The issue they are most divided on is gun control. Rosemary “cannot” reconcile how her husband can support a party “propped up by the National Rifle Association”. While not a “gun lover”, Alec says he is “practical” about the difficulty in amending the constitution to restrict arms.

Despite their differences, they both predict Mr Trump will win a second term on November 3.

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“It pains me to say it but I just know he’s going to win again,” says Rosemary. “It’s a choice between dumb and dumber and half the time Biden doesn’t seem to know what day it is.”

Perhaps as a hangover from their days in Australia, the Gorhams believe voting is not only a democratic right but a privilege, they’ve voted in every presidential election since they became American citizens two decades ago.

Rosemary Gorham and her husband Alec Gorham at home in Atlanta.

Rosemary Gorham and her husband Alec Gorham at home in Atlanta.Credit:Raymond McCrea Jones

They’re regularly asked by family and friends why they haven’t divorced. Rosemary says it’s a greater show of love to respect Alec’s point of view than to try to change him.

“We’re both entitled to think our own ways,” she says. “He’s not my child … I don’t own him or his thoughts.” Alec says: “There are so many more important things to fight about.”

They both believe society has become unable to partake in “civil debate” thanks to the influence of social media. “People just jump down everyone’s throats … when did it become so controversial to get along with people you disagree with?” Rosemary said.

While it may seem unorthodox to stay married to someone with such deeply differing political values, the Gorhams are far from alone. Indeed, the husband of Mr Trump’s former close aide Kellyanne Conway, George Conway, co-created the Lincoln Project, a Republican group whose purpose is to see Mr Trump booted from the White House.

 Alec shows off his "Official Trump 2020 Gold Card" which he says he got for contributing to the campaign.

Alec shows off his “Official Trump 2020 Gold Card” which he says he got for contributing to the campaign.Credit:Raymond McCrea Jones

In step with his wife, Mr Conway resigned from the group in August to “devote more time to family”.

With just 23 days until the Presidential election, Mr Trump trails Mr Biden considerably in the polls and in key swing states. Mr Biden is averaging seven points ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania, and six in Michigan and Wisconsin.

After Mr Trump’s shock win over Hillary Clinton in the bitterly divisive 2016 race, a Reuters/Ipsos poll of more than 6000 people found 16 per cent of respondents stopped communicating with a friend or family member.

For the same reason, 17 per cent of participants blocked friends or family members on social media and 13 per cent ended their relationship with a loved one entirely.

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