Why Trump’s White Grievance Message Strikes a Sour Note in the Suburbs

They described Mr. Trump in familiar terms: They dislike his social media presence but continue to trust him on the economy despite the unemployment crisis amid the pandemic. They say that the news media and the Democrats have not given him a fair shake. Some cheered his language about protesters and want to see him embrace a tougher line.

“Trashing places shouldn’t be our statement,” said Patricia Hamilton, a 40-year-old resident of Marana, a conservative suburb of Tucson, Ariz. “We should not be throwing fits. And I get we’ve got issues in this country, but we’re still the greatest country in the world.”

Some white Trump supporters also said they saw racism as an intractable problem, and chose to focus on other aspects of Mr. Trump’s record, saying that he was doing the best job possible under difficult circumstances.

“It’s one of those issues that’s going to take time to resolve,” said Chris Berglund, 40, of Morrisville, N.C., who said he had “no opinion” of the president’s handling of racial matters and emphasized instead Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy. “He’s done a great job so far, turned the economy around, low unemployment — well, not right now, but there’s not anybody who could do that with the pandemic going on.”

But in the supermarket parking lot near the Confederate monument in Cornelius, Shaneika Guy couldn’t overlook the statue — or Mr. Trump’s painful approach, in her view, to race.

“I want it to come down, I feel like it’s racism,” she said of the monument. Ms. Guy, 34, has not yet decided whether she will vote for Mr. Biden, but she will not support Mr. Trump.

“I don’t think he’s very compassionate about either race, even his own,” she said.

Jon Hurdle contributed reporting from Radnor, Pa., Hank Stephenson contributed from Oro Valley, Ariz., and Dave Umhoefer from Milwaukee.