Community Politics

The inside of TK’s Pub and Grill is like a lot of bars: dark, with a few pool tables and rock and roll playing through the speakers.

Off to one side is a small group of about a dozen people, sipping beers and sharing baskets of nachos and wings. They’re here on a Tuesday night to celebrate the first year of Trump’s presidency on the anniversary of his election.

Despite historically low approval ratings, these voters are pleased with the president’s performance so far.

Evan Wright is one of them. He’s a 20-year-old student at the University of Louisville, the chair of the school’s Republican group. He’s also a big Trump supporter, and was here at TK’s a year ago, well after midnight, when Trump won.

On election night 2016, TK’s Pub and Grill was full of Trump supporters. They wore Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats and hollered as the results trickled in.

Wright said the first year of Trump’s rule is just as expected. He said Trump is “doing everything he promised.”

Wright and the others here like Trump for his “American First” agenda, his commitment to cut regulations and his tough stance on immigration and national security.

And because he’s…different.

“He’s not the traditional president, he’s the outsider president, he’s the regular Joe president,” Wright said. “That’s what we love about him.”

Mary Riggs agrees.

“He tells it like it is,” she said.

Riggs, 59, came to the bar to revel in the camaraderie that pulsated through Trump’s small Louisville base in the weeks leading up to November last year.

She likes Trump’s brash style. She thinks he’s honest — unlike most politicians.

“I don’t think he’s got anyone in his back pocket,” she said.

Over at the bar, Jeff Klusmeier orders a shot and a beer. The mix does the body good, he said.

Klusmeier helped run the unofficial Trump headquarters next door to the bar during the presidential campaign.

He’s been a political junkie since the early 1990s and said Trump’s election is good for politics. Despite the president’s divisiveness, Klusmeier said he’s good for the GOP too, even if he ends up splitting the party.

“I want things to be in flux, I want to shake things up,” he said. “You have to make it uncomfortable for people.”

Klusmeier said yes, following along with the president gets a little exhausting, with Trump’s tweets and fights and reality TV mentality.

“But if people see their 401(k)s grow, and the economy is good and unemployment is down, they’re not going to care,” he said.

He said he fully expects Trump to be a two term president — and after that, who knows, maybe Ivanka Trump will run, maybe Jared Kushner.

“We’ll have another dynasty,” Klusmeier said.

He took his shot and grabbed his beer and joined the others. They talked politics for a while longer and looked ahead to three more years, at least, of a Donald Trump presidency.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.