Supporters of Donald Trump have defended their President’s performance at the G20, saying he is a new breed of leader who is focused on fixing domestic problems before leading the world.
Criticism from the ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann, among others, that the President was awkward and isolated and failed to capitalise on opportunities at the event have been laughed off by supporters in Virginia, who continue to back him as a strong leader.
“Who is that idiot?” founder of Virginia Women for Trump Alice Butler-Short asked after viewing Uhlmann’s commentary.
“I don’t know who this guy is, but he doesn’t have a clue about our President.”
Mr Trump’s supporters subscribe to his view that much of the media is against him, and that negative views about his performance and suspicions over things like Russian election meddling are driven by “fake news” coverage.
Ms Butler-Short backs his “America First” approach, even if that has an impact on the nation’s global leadership position in the short term.
“If America’s strong, if America’s prosperous, if America’s safe then that helps us to help the rest of the world,” she said.
“It makes us even bigger in the eyes of the world and better in the eyes of the world and that is what President Trump is doing. He’s taking care of his own house first.”
Virginia Women for Trump member Heather Mitchell agrees.
“I think each country around the world needs to be responsible for their country,” she said.
“I think what Trump is doing is, ‘Look, I’m putting my house in order, you put your house in order and once we’ve done that then yes we can work together’.”
“While the leadership now may not look like people were hoping it to look or expecting it to look, I think it’s there,” group member Susan Nieman said.
She is not always supportive of Mr Trump’s tweets and rhetoric, however she appreciates the no-boundaries style that has world leaders on their heels.
“I just think it’s not business as usual, so while it may be spun as, ‘He’s a wildcard’, all bets are off basically.”
Global surveys show dwindling trust in Mr Trump.
A recent Pew Research Centre survey of 40,000 people across 37 countries showed only 22 per cent had confidence in him.
“The big take away from this study for us is we see a really big change in how the world views the US President and, overall, that’s having a big impact on how they see the United States as a whole,” Pew’s Richard Wike said.
Domestic polls also show almost three in five Americans disapprove of the job Mr Trump is doing.
But Virginia businessman and supporter John Lipnicky is confident his base remains loyal.
“People like me, we love the guy,” he said.
“I think logical people all over the world, logical people are seeing this guy for what he is, that he’s a genuine leader of his country and perhaps the world —but certainly his own country.”