Andrew Dys

‘I told you so’: Trump faithful bask in ‘miracle’ presidential victory

Loyd Ardrey, owner of the iconic Ebenezer Grill in Rock Hill, was first in line to say it to people like me about Donald Trump: “Boy, I told you so.”

Ardrey had invited Trump to speak at the Rock Hill restaurant during the Republican primary in February , but Trump could not make it. Ardrey had this to say Wednesday, after a Trump presidential victory Ardrey called “a miracle”:

“Donald Trump has a standing invitation at Ebenezer Grill forever. At Ebenezer Grill, everybody is a winner, and today, the people of America spoke loud and clear about their winner. Donald Trump is the winner.”

Ardrey greeted customer after customer where all the talk was Trump’s stunning win that even supporters did not foresee as late as Tuesday.

All are welcome at Ebenezer Grill, people of any political persuasion, race, religion, whatever. Kind of like America.

Wednesday was special for those who backed Trump, who shocked the world.

“Isn’t it something?” Ardrey called out to longtime Republican volunteer Martha Haynesworth as the two hugged.

“The impossible,” beamed Haynesworth. “We got our country back.”

Customers spoke of Trump’s sometimes crass statements about immigrants and women, and how it seems he has to try not to make people furious. But Trump’s outsider status, his talk about jobs and the economy and hope for families, said Ardrey, is what people care about more.

Trump offered “hope and change,” just like President Barack Obama, Ardrey said.

“Everybody in this country wants a country for all of us,” Ardrey said. “Trump does, too.”

When Trump spoke to 6,500 people in January at Winthrop Coliseum, as thousands more clamored to get inside to hear him during his only York County appearance, it was clear then, and clearer now, that there is a movement for someone new and different.

The crowds roared. The crowds were great, his supporters patriotic.

Trump was their guy then, and Tuesday they chose him to represent everybody now.

So many times over the past year, I wrote about how Trump was brash and exciting, thrilling and by far the best of the Republican lot and perhaps even all candidates, yet he was often divisive. Because of Trump’s stance on immigrants, especially.

But Ardrey said those Trump negatives – and Ardrey concedes there are many – are outweighed by his allure to people who want a country that works, one that is tough and strong and fearless.

And many people who wear blue collars that mean hard work said Hillary Clinton was just plain unlikeable.

“Trump has work to do to bring back a lot of people, but he won and people need to get behind him,” said Randy Crenshaw of Rock Hill Industrial Piping & Fabrication. “His speech last night, I saw it in the middle of the night. He’s said he’s going to bring people together. I believe him.”

Just east of downtown in Rock Hill, on Election Day, Joe Janetta put up across his front yard four flags that say “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Liberty” and more. He did so to show that he supports Trump, even when Trump was not his first choice. But for Janetta, Clinton was no choice at all.

Those flags proudly stayed up Wednesday after Trump won.

“We need to work together; the county has been divided and divisive,” Janetta said. “It is time for us to join hand in hand and do what we need to do. Everyone pitching in; that’s what this country was built on.”

Janetta, a Vietnam War combat medic, said Trump “is an outsider” and Clinton is “a liar.”

“That’s what this country was founded on, outsiders,” Janetta said. “That’s what the country wanted.”

There was much talk during the election that Trump had alienated blacks, Hispanics and others. Yet Trump is now going to be president for everybody.

Across the city from Ebenezer Grill, and not far from Janetta’s yard of flags, sits Red’s Grill, Rock Hill’s crossroads for all since 1948. The place was jammed Wednesday with those who had voted for Trump and those who did not.

It is a place for those of all political leanings. But all, even those who did not vote for Trump, said Trump won fair and square.

Brothers Willie and George Evans, both mechanics, said Trump will get the economy going.

“We have got to give the man a chance,” Willie Evans said.

Robert “Top” Pickett, a Vietnam War combat veteran who knows winners are in charge and losers are not, said, “Trump won straight out; he earned that right to lead the country.”

Pickett said people of all races and all political views must support Trump because he won.

“We owe him a chance; we have to give him our support, and let’s see if he can turn America around,” Pickett said.

Inside at a table sat William Cornwell.

“Call me ‘Chainsaw,’” said Cornwell, who wears a ponytail and rides a motorcycle and is proudly conservative. He says Trump’s win is a win for him.

“He’s going to look out for us; we are going to be able to keep our guns,” Cornwell said. “He said he is going to make America great again, and I believe him.”

Chainsaw was asked about naysayers who said that Trump, even with his thrilling speech and straight talk, had alienated too many people to win. People just like me.

And like the people who had put graffiti on an abandoned house on Cherry Road that said “Trump’s White House” near empty windows.

“You can see it in their faces,” Cornwell said about those who were wrong about Trump having a chance to win. “They didn’t know that the rest of America, the real country, is different from them. This is our country, too.”

Jerry Ballard, who said he proudly voted for Trump, said the country is ready for a change and Trump offered it. As for Clinton, Ballard said, “I didn’t trust her, and I didn’t like her.”

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