Colin Raffio, a UNH junior finance major with a political science minor, had just finished his lunch at Holloway Commons on an early fall day when he started making his way toward the exit. Upon reaching the stairs, he noticed two girls staring at him. When he passed by them, the girls cursed at him, saying, “f–k you and your shirt.” “I said ‘ok’ and just walked away. I just kind of laughed,” Raffio said.
Raffio was wearing his Donald Trump T-shirt that day, something he isn’t reluctant of doing, despite the common dirty looks and muffled comments he receives. The long sleeve, navy blue shirt, with the word Trump written in bold letters above his campaign slogan, “Make America great again!” is a small representation of Raffio’s support. In regard to the public’s reaction he gets from wearing the shirt, he described the responses as, “…the worst looks ever.”
Raffio, a 20-year-old from Pelham, New York, grew up with a liberal mother and conservative father, though it’s been his father’s political stance that’s had more influence on him—Raffio defines himself as a Republican.
“I just don’t understand though…isn’t there a whole thing about how everyone is equal? Why would someone look at me differently just because I’m voting for somebody else?” Raffio said in regard to his treatment as a Trump supporter by those who oppose him. “I feel like they’re contradicting themselves.”
Given the fact that in Durham last November, almost three times the amount of people voted for Clinton over Trump, the notion of the UNH campus being liberal has some truth to it.
The backlash continues into the classroom for Raffio. Specifically in his political science classes, Raffio noted that he’s “got some really strong left-wing liberals…And [his] teachers, most of them are liberal democratic.”
As a result, Raffio said, he not only avoids wearing his Trump shirt to these classes out of fear that “people would just rip me apart,” but he also refrains from contributing his views and opinions for the same reason. He said some of his professors make subtle anti-Trump jokes that make him feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed when he provides his perspectives.
Regardless of his liberal surroundings, Raffio is comfortable publicizing his support on social media, and said he feels there is a need for Trump supporters to explain the reasoning behind their support.
“I have a lot of liberal friends and friends that don’t like Trump and they show me news that I know is not the truth. I feel like me retweeting and showing what Trump is doing and all his policies will help bring awareness to him and who he is,” Raffio said.
Raffio discredits media outlets when it comes to not reporting the truth.
“I like to retweet stuff or share stuff on Facebook that represents the truth of action and the facts of what [Trump is] doing,” Raffio explained. “Kind of sheds light to him and what he’s about.”
Raffio feels that the backlash for being vocal about his support is most prevalent online. After Trump’s victory, Raffio excitedly shared articles and posted statuses about his success. He also claimed a $500 cash prize after betting against Democratic friends that Hillary Clinton would lose the election.
As a result, people, mostly liberals, ranging from UNH and all the way to his hometown “went after me on my Facebook comments,” he said.
He noted that comments included phrases such as “he doesn’t support the LGBTQ+ community…he’s a racist…he’s a bigot.”
Raffio concluded that they were just upset that their candidate had lost.
Raffio said that since the election, he’s noticed that anti-Trump activism has settled down and silent supporters around campus are beginning to speak up.
Unlike the anti-Trump incident in the dining hall, Raffio explained, “there have been multiple instances where the dining hall workers would come up to me…one guy grabbed me and said ‘Honestly, I love your shirt. I really do. It’s great to see the support. I’m a silent supporter, and I love to see your shirt. Good job.’ I get those all the time.”
In response to the repercussions he receives from liberals on campus and online, Raffio retorted, “You might not like the person I support, but that doesn’t have anything to do with me.”