‘I got tired of ly­ing lawyers’

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Pete Buchanan (70)

On the main drag in the tiny ru­ral town of Boons­boro in Mary­land, 90 min­utes away from Wash­ing­ton, DC, is Pete Buchanan’s bar­ber shop, where clients can get a trim for $11 (R158).

A few months ago, he put up a ban­ner at his shop next to the town hall: “We want our coun­try back.”

At first, peo­ple paid no at­ten­tion. Now that the elec­tions are over, ev­ery­one is re­mark­ing on it, Buchanan says.

On Tues­day, he voted Repub­li­can for the first time, as did most peo­ple in this com­mu­nity. Don­ald Trump’s sup­port base came from older white vot­ers like him.

“I have been in­de­pen­dent all my life. I am an in­de­pen­dent busi­ness­man,” says Buchanan.

But when no in­de­pen­dent was stand­ing, he opted for Trump. “I got tired of ly­ing lawyers run­ning our coun­try. I wanted some­one who was ei­ther a mil­i­tary man or a busi­ness­man.”

Trump’s prom­ises to limit the terms of con­gress­men ap­pealed to him. “Pol­i­tics wasn’t in­tended to be a ca­reer,” he says. On the back wall of his shop is a framed piece of text in fancy writ­ing. It is the Mayflower Com­pact of 1620, a doc­u­ment signed by set­tlers on the ship Mayflower. Known as the found­ing fa­thers, they trav­elled to the US from Bri­tain, Ire­land and France to ad­vance Chris­tian val­ues in their new land. Buchanan de­fines these val­ues as “you work, you save, you obey the laws”.

“That has al­ways been our foun­da­tion to keep us to­gether. Now they have changed that and say it’s for per­sonal in­ter­pre­ta­tion. It has never been like this for me. Peo­ple are mov­ing away from the orig­i­nal faith.”

He says Mus­lims do not ad­here to the same principles, and chang­ing from the Chris­tian foun­da­tion would mean the coun­try would stop work­ing – “just like if you changed an engine over the years from its orig­i­nal form”.

Buchanan, whose wife died three years ago, has a mar­ried son and three grand­chil­dren. He has done mis­sion­ary work in Uganda, Kenya and Puerto Rico, but his dream is to go to Scot­land to find his roots.

He claims to be a de­scen­dant of the 15th US pres­i­dent, James Buchanan.

Did re­ports about Trump’s bad be­hav­iour to­wards women bother him? “I think it was true, it is ev­ery­where,” he says. “Trump said be­ing fa­mous meant women al­lowed you to do these things – and then they say it is sex­ual ha­rass­ment. Much of it hap­pened 11 years ago and it’s un­fair to hold Trump to that.”

Buchanan be­lieves Trump treats the women in his fam­ily and in his busi­nesses as equals.

His daugh­ter-in-law, who works for him, chips in from be­hind a client: “Over in West Vir­ginia, there are strip clubs. It is part of so­ci­ety – women who take their clothes off for money.” Did he have a prob­lem with Trump not pay­ing taxes? “Tax re­duc­tion is the law. If I could get one, I would take it too!” he says. What will life be like un­der Trump? “I don’t know, but we sur­vived eight years with Obama, who is a Mus­lim in a Chris­tian coun­try,” he says.

He does not in­tend re­tir­ing soon. “I re­ally don’t know how to do any­thing else. I en­joy work­ing. In the old days it used to be you work, you re­tire, ev­ery­thing is sta­ble – with no dras­tic changes like in the past few years,” he says.

PHOTO: CARIEN DU PLESSIS

FOR TRUMP Pete Buchanan out­side his bar­ber shop

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