Howie Carr has doubts but still backs Trump
CONCORD – Howie Carr’s one of President Donald Trump’s biggest supporters in New England.
The nationally syndicated host of the most listened to news and political talk radio program in the region had presidential candidate Donald Trump as a guest on his show countless times during the 2016 campaign. Carr also joined Trump on the campaign trail in New Hampshire couple of times during the primaries and general election.
So does Carr share the reported disappointment from other Trump backers over the President’s recent policy shifts on key international and domestic issues; departures that stand in contrast to promises made during the race for the White House?
“No. I’m not disappointed. I’m pretty happy about a lot of the stuff that’s happening,” Carr told NH1 News on Friday. “I’m happy about Gorsuch. I’m happy about the decline in illegal immigration. I’m happy about the fact that the economy seems to be turning around a little bit.“
From the missile attack on Syria to dropping the 'mother of all bombs' on ISIS fighters in Afghanistan to the moving of U.S. naval ships off the coast of North Korea, Trump’s apparent acceptance of a interventionist foreign policy is at odds with his “America First’ language on the campaign trail. So is his more conciliatory tone toward China and his praise of NATO. And Steve Bannon, the nationalist who steered the Trump campaign from August through the election and went on to become the President’s chief strategist, appears to have been marginalized.
Carr said “I have some concerns about the attack in Syria, not because I think it was so bad in and of itself. But you never know what’s going to happen. ... Like a lot of my listeners, I’m concerned about having a few hundred people in Syria.”
“I don’t want to see any more nation building. I don’t want to see any more regime change,” he added.
But Carr’s still strongly supporting the president, telling NH1 News that Trump’s “the guy and he’s certainly better than Hillary Clinton. So I’m not disappointed. I’ve got concerns, but I’ve had concerns about anybody. No administration gets off to a smooth start.”
“I wish they had repealed Obamacare, but that bill was a bad thing and I think it’s probably a better thing long term that they didn’t get it through,” he explained.
Carr: Listeners not jumping ship
Asked if his listeners are jumping off the Trump train, Carr quickly responded “no.”
“I think people are still breathing a sigh of relief that Hillary Clinton was denied the presidency,” he said of his listeners.
“They have concerns about issues here and there. They would like to see tax cuts sooner rather than later. They would probably prefer to see Steve Bannon in a position of power,” Carr said.
But he added that “I think they’re with Donald Trump.”
Steve Robinson, the Howie Carr Show’s executive producer, says he was a Rubio and then a Cruz guy during the GOP presidential primaries. He shared that the President’s actions in recent weeks on foreign policy and national security have made him “more comfortable with Trump.”
Robinson added that he’s appreciative that “we’re finally using force on the bad guys.”
But he says the U.S. missile strike in Syria “really sharply divided our audience ... a lot of the listeners were really upset.”
Robinson explained the program takes the pulse of its listeners in New England and across the country (the 4pm ET hour of the program is simulcast on Newsmax TV) through their calls, texts, emails and tweets. He told NH1 News about 70 percent of listeners were opposed to the Syrian strike.
Robinson shared that he supported the strike on the program last week, and was labeled a ‘neocon’ my scores of listeners.
But he said “we have an audience that’s much more concerned with illegal immigration and crime than what’s happened with North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan.”
And he added that listeners feel the president has kept his “promises on illegal immigration and on the Supreme Court” and with the naming of Jeff Sessions (who for years has been an occasional guest on the Howie Carr Show) as U.S. attorney general.
Robinson agreed with Carr that none of the listeners were jumping ship yet.
“They’re still very much on the Trump train,” Robinson said, “ but now they feel they can speak out when Trump doesn’t keep his promises.”
NOTE: The Howie Carr Show can be heard each weekday from 3-7 p.m. on NH1 News on 99.1, WTSN on 98.1 and 1270AM, and WEMJ on 107.3 and 1490AM.