WILMINGTON — Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visited Wilmington on Saturday, Nov. 5. Port City Daily spoke to a number of participants at the rally, including Stephanie Galanis-Capotosto. In a follow-up interview, Galanis-Capotosto spoke about what brought her to the rally and what she hopes Trump will do if elected president.
“I was originally for Hillary, I was going to vote for her,” Galanis-Capotosto said. “But I wanted to do my research. I watch the news, but also Snopes, and documentaries. A friend of mine told me about the ‘Clinton Cash’ film, and that really opened my eyes and changed my mind.”
The documentary is based on the 2015 book by Peter Schweizer and was funded by Stephen Bannon, the CEO of Trump’s campaign. It makes several allegations of unethical and illegal use of political power against former-President Bill Clinton and current Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Galanis-Capotosto, the daughter of a New York City police officer, said, “You’ve got to do things by the book. That’s what my father taught me. That’s what I teach my son. He knows it is wrong to lie, even to tell white lies, because you’ve got to be honest when you deal with people.”
But while a visible and vocal percentage of rally-goers seemed to be motivated largely by anti-Clinton sentiments, Galanis-Capotosto was more concerned with the economic issues that hit her closest to home.
“I’m 50 years old, and I’m on Social Security disability from a car crash,” she said. “I think (Trump) will help take care of people like me. It’s hard, even with my husband’s salary.”
She said she feared Clinton would not do enough – if anything – to save government assistance programs. Trump has promised to maintain the Social Security program without cuts.
Galanis-Capotosto was also concerned for North Carolina’s current and future economy. She was particularly concerned over the loss of film-industry business in and around Wilmington.
“It isn’t just Screen Gems, though they were very good for Wilmington,” she said. “It was all the hair-dressers, and the restaurants; it was every thing from gas stations to fashion. When films came to town, everyone benefited.”
Galanis-Capotosto said she hopes Trump’s pro-business agenda will extend to arenas like film-incentives of the sort that once made North Carolina a popular location for both feature film and television production.
“It’s not just the here and now, though,” Galanis-Capotosto said. “I’m very concerned about what happens to our children, kids my son’s age, who will be thinking about college in four years. If there are not jobs for students graduating, especially with the debt from a master’s degree, it’s going to be very difficult for them.”
While talking about her son, the unavoidable but sensitive issue of Trump’s history of sexist and misogynist comments arose.
“How do I deal with it? I think about my own past. I was a biker chick! But I got married, I had my son, I grew up,” she said. “It’s 20 years later. I see a man who made mistakes, but who has grown up, and matured. I have a shoe box full of photos from those biker rallies. My son can see them when he’s 20. But he understands the difference between who I was and who I am now. Now I’m his mom.
“And you can say obnoxious things, I’ve certainly said them. But you can say obnoxious things or you can do illegal things and try to represent your country,” Galanis-Capotosto said, alluding to alleged misconduct and illegal activity by Hillary Clinton, “I don’t think it’s the same thing.”
Galanis-Capotosto also addressed the issue of being a female Trump supporter.
“I think anyone who hears Melania (Trump) speak sees that she genuinely loves her husband and believes in him,” she said. “Like I said, I think of my own past, of anyone’s past. And I think if she can forgive her husband, then what right do we have to judge him or her?”
She added that her own grandmother, a first-generation immigrant to the United States, could barely speak English. “She spoke broken English. But I understood every word of what Melania said. She spoke well.”
Galanis-Capotosto said in closing that she thought some of Trump’s comments about the media were “rude,” but added, “I do wish (the media) would show the size of the (Trump) crowds and what they’re like. I was nervous about coming here by myself, and I left my son at home. I didn’t know: would there be vulgarity? would things get out of hand? But everyone was very friendly, people said ‘excuse me,’ there was no shoving or shouting. Now that I know, I would absolutely bring my son.”
More Port City Daily headlines