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Voters in swing states react to Trump verdict

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

A judge will decide former President Donald Trump's sentence in July after a New York jury convicted Trump of falsifying business records yesterday. Voters will still decide Trump's political future in November. In a few minutes, we'll hear from Trump and his campaign. But first, let's hear from voters in swing states. For that, we're joined by WABE's Rahul Bali in Atlanta and WUWM's Maayan Silver in Milwaukee. Hey, y'all.

MAAYAN SILVER, BYLINE: Hi there.

RAHUL BALI, BYLINE: Hi.

SUMMERS: Maayan, I want to start with you. Tell us, how are voters in Wisconsin responding to the former president's claims - which are unfounded, to be clear - that his trial was rigged.

SILVER: So Wisconsin's a swing state. Trump narrowly won it in 2016, and he lost by a similar amount in 2020. There are still a lot of stalwart MAGA voters here, like Van Mobley. He's a university professor and former president of a village in a suburb of Milwaukee. He says that Trump's an innocent man who's been railroaded by a Democratic judge, prosecutor and jury.

VAN MOBLEY: No. I was going to vote for Trump before. I'll vote for him again and happily so. Maybe I'll give him some more money.

SILVER: There's some energy building among Republicans like him who are unhappy with the verdicts, as well as some Democrats who feel the results confirm Trump is unfit for office. But the news is still fresh. We don't know where we'll be in five months.

SUMMERS: Indeed. Rahul, over to you in Georgia - what are you hearing from voters there in how they're responding to the verdict?

BALI: So the voters who've been talking to our reporters today have expressed a range of opinions and frustrations. Here is Christine Holcomb and Conor Crahan speaking to my colleague, Julien Virgin, in Roswell, a suburb north of Atlanta.

CHRISTINE HOLCOMB: I didn't even want to put the news on today. I think we're all tired of it. We want stuff to get done.

CONOR CRAHAN: I think, if anything, it gave him more support, honestly.

BALI: So I want to talk a little more about that last voice you heard, 19-year-old Conor Crahan. As of right now, he's trying to decide between Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. My colleagues and I - we've talked to a small number of Trump- and Republican-leaning voters who are open to voting for RFK Jr.

I should mention, the Kennedy campaign tells me they're finishing up gathering petition signatures to get on the ballot in Georgia. And while most Trump voters are not going anywhere, these small number of voters are important as President Biden's margin of victory in Georgia in 2020 was less than 12,000 votes.

SUMMERS: Maayan, you told us a little about what far-right Republicans are thinking. But there in Wisconsin, what have you heard from other voters?

SILVER: So, I spoke to Dana Rebatzke, who lives in a suburb of Milwaukee. She says she's an independent voter who leans conservative. She hasn't been a fan of Trump, and now she says she's going to wait until the last minute to decide who to vote for.

DANA REBATZKE: You know, if Biden was ahead, I'd probably feel comfortable throwing my vote behind somebody that's independent. But if it was neck and neck, if it was really close, I'd probably go for Biden just because I don't want Trump in office.

SILVER: So there's that. Another important thing about Wisconsin is that Milwaukee is set to host the Republican National Convention in July. That'll happen just four days after Trump's scheduled sentencing on these charges.

BALI: And down here in Georgia, we'll have the first debate between President Biden and former President Trump in Atlanta on June 27, so we'll be watching how the verdict is brought up and debated.

SUMMERS: That is WABE's Rahul Bali in Atlanta and WUWM's Maayan Silver in Milwaukee. Thanks to both of you.

SILVER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Maayan Silver is an intern with WUWM's Lake Effect program. She is a practicing criminal defense attorney, NPR listener and student of journalism and radio production.
Rahul Bali
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