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'Terrible': Trump’s rhetoric splits Washington state’s delegation

President Donald Trump
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/
Washington state's delegates are split on Donald Trump's candidacy -- and his rhetoric.

This year the Republican presidential nominee has divided the country – and his own party – as much as any nominee in over 40 years.

And much of that has do with his choice of words. 

Donald Trump’s biggest supporters say they like them. They say the stuff he says is refreshing and outspoken.

Like this line about Mexican immigrants when he declared his candidacy last year: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

But opponents hear Trump’s words differently: Racist. 

Sexist: “She had blood coming out of her eyes, coming out of her … wherever,” said Trump on Fox TV host Megyn Kelly.

And Islamaphobic: “Until we figure this out, we should have a ban, it’s very simple," said Trump, previously calling for a total ban on Muslim immigration into the United States. Now he calls for “extreme vetting.”

So what do Washington state delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland make of his rhetoric?

Hossein Khorram of Clyde Hill is one who backs Donald Trump.

“I’m a Muslim, and I talk to many Muslims and they don’t quite like the way he says things,” Khorram said. “His language is not very friendly. But the content is very appealing to the Muslims.”

Obviously, not all Muslims agree.

Another Washington delegate — Braedon Wilkerson of Olympia – said there’s no excuse for Trump’s language. Wilkerson is among the majority of Republicans from Washington state in Cleveland who say they will never vote for Trump.

“Would you vote for racism, would you vote for misogyny, would you vote for authoritarianism?” Wilkerson said this week. 

But Washington state GOP Chairman Susan Hutchison, like Trump, is all about the winning.

How worried is she that Trump’s pugnacious rhetoric will alienate Republicans and swing voters heading into November? 

“I found that many serious Republicans who are not happy about Donald Trump hearken back to the 20th century, and the way it was with Ronald Reagan,” she said. “This is the 21st century. If you are on Twitter, it’s constant insults.

“Is it better? That’s for people to judge. But most of our younger generation is used to being very blunt in their communication.”

Hutchison said Trump has what it takes to win the presidency. And she thinks he’s even got a shot in ocean-blue Washington state. 

What about people outside the convention center in Cleveland? Most of those I asked about it say they’re very happy that the Republicans are in this largely Democratic town.

But when it comes to Trump, this is what Ghanee and West -- a bass and sax duo busking just a few blocks away from the convention center -- had to say: 

“It’s just like funny to me. It’s like entertainment to me.”

“He’s got money to throw away, so he can just say what he wants to say. He can buy his way. He already did."

Cora Butts was with a group of people giving out free hugs on the edge of a public square where multiple mini-protests have taken place. She is even less impressed with Donald Trump’s rants.    

“It’s just terrible,” she said. “He has everybody else who was afraid, who had hatred in their hearts, he has everybody saying that out loud now. That’s so dangerous.” 

Year started with KUOW: 2004