An Interview With A Trump Supporter, Otto Klavern

Otto Zipp Klavern, a Donald Trump supporter, lives by himself in Yahoo, Florida, where he works as a door-to-door asbestos and lead-based paint salesman. Klavern says he loves America and hates what's happened to it. He spends his weekends as a Confederate re-enactor.

When I interviewed Mr. Klavern, he was wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap.

Q: You believe Donald Trump will make America great again, don't you, Mr. Klavern?

Otto Klavern: I'm wearing the cap, ain't I?

Q: Yes, you are. How is Mr. Trump going to make America great again?

Otto Klavern: He's going to end political correctness.

Q: Trump calls political correctness the "big problem in the country," doesn't he?

Otto Klavern: It's the biggest problem in the country.

Q: How is Mr. Trump going to end political correctness?

Otto Klavern: I don't know. But he'll end it.

Q: And America will become great again?

Otto Klavern: We're gonna win so much we may even get tired of all the winning.

Q: Mr. Trump said that, too, didn't he?

Otto Klavern: Yup.

Q: You have a lot of faith in Mr. Trump, don't you, Mr. Klavern?

Otto Klavern: He says the things that I've been thinking and nobody else in Washington has the guts to say...

Q: Because most of what he says is nonsense...

Otto Klavern: In my heart, I know he's right.

Q: You know what his critics say, don't you?

Otto Klavern: What's that?

Q: In our guts, we know he's nuts.

Otto Klavern: Anyone who criticizes Mr. Trump is a traitor.

Q: Mr. Trump says that criticism of him will be illegal when he's president, isn't that right?

Otto Klavern: Yup.

Q: So he's going to make America great by ending free speech?

Otto Klavern: If that's what it takes.

Q: Doesn't that sound a bit, well, crazy?

Otto Klavern: Mr. Trump doesn't care what you think. He'd rather be right than president.

Q: It doesn't appear than he will ever be either, Mr. Klavern. Mr. Trump has said and done a lot of things that raise questions about his state of mind? Do you have any concerns about Mr. Trump's mental state?

Otto Klavern: He's as sane as I am.

Q: I have no doubt about that, Mr. Klavern. When did America quit being great?

Otto Klavern: (pause) When we started letting in all the immigrants.

Q: But hasn't America always had immigrants? Wasn't it founded by immigrants? Doesn't the Statue of Liberty say, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Otto Klavern: That was before the huddled masses began taking our jobs.

Q: You sell asbestos and lead-based paint, is that right?

Otto Klavern: Yes.

Q: How's business?

Otto Klavern: Not so good.

Q: Why is that?

Otto Klavern: Because of immigrants. What else could it be?

Q: If immigration is such a problem in the U.S., don't you think the Statue of Liberty is sending the wrong message? Shouldn't we take it down?

Otto Klavern: I don't know about...

Q: What if Mr. Trump demands that the Statue of Liberty be removed from New York Harbor.

Otto Klavern: I'd be for it then.

Q: What if Mr. Trump wants to remove the torch from the Statue of Liberty and have her raise her middle finger at the rest of the world? That would make a pretty powerful statement to anyone thinking about coming here, wouldn't it, Mr. Klavern?

Otto Klavern: If Mr. Trump wanted to do that, I'd be for it.

Q: You would do anything he says, right? You believe just about anything he says, don't you?

Otto Klavern: Yup.

Q: When Mr. Trump says he wants to make America great again, isn't he saying that he wants to make America white again?

Otto Klavern: He wants to give America back to real Americans?

Q: You mean white Americans?

Otto Klavern: I mean real Americans...

Q: People who came here legally. People who have papers that say they're here legally?

Otto Klavern: Yes, sir.

Q: You're a real American, aren't you?

Otto Klavern: Damn right, I am.

Q: Can you prove you're in this country legally?

Otto Klavern: Huh?

Q: Do you have papers that say you're here legally?

Otto Klavern: I'm white. I'm here legally.

Q: Uh-huh. Do you think Donald Trump can fix America's problems?

Otto Klavern: I'm wearing the cap, aren't I?

Q: In his speech at the Republican convention, didn't Trump say that America was in crisis and "I alone can fix it." There's a name for someone who says that only he can fix the problems of a country.

Otto Klavern: A leader!

Q: A dictator.