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Grief, anger, disbelief: Trump voters face Biden’s victory

Joan Martin poses for a portrait on the front porch of her home in Picayune, Miss., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. When she heard that Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election, the retired nurse and avowed supporter of President Donald Trump was deeply unsettled. To steel herself, she thought about how her household weathered Hurricane Katrina, when it battered her hometown of Picayune, in 2005. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Joan Martin poses for a portrait on the front porch of her home in Picayune, Miss., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. When she heard that Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election, the retired nurse and avowed supporter of President Donald Trump was deeply unsettled. To steel herself, she thought about how her household weathered Hurricane Katrina, when it battered her hometown of Picayune, in 2005. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — When Joan Martin heard that Joe Biden had been declared the winner of the presidential election, the retired nurse and avowed supporter of President Donald Trump was deeply unsettled. To steel herself, she thought about how her household weathered Hurricane Katrina when it battered her hometown of Picayune, Mississippi, in 2005.

As the storm blew toward the town, Martin rushed out into her yard to carry her 85 show chickens to safety. Outside, howling winds lashed her family’s barn, lifting the edges of the roof off its moorings.

“The next day they (the chickens) were very concerned about the changes in the yard — we had trees down,” said Martin, 79. “They were very eyes-wide. But within two days, they said, ‘Oh, yeah, we can deal with this,’ and they did. So I have to follow their lead.”

Across the country, many of the 71.9 million people who voted for Trump — especially his loyal, passionate base — are working through turbulent emotions in the wake of his loss. Grief, anger and shock are among the feelings expressed by supporters who assumed he would score a rock-solid victory — by a slim margin, maybe easily, perhaps even by a landslide.

There is also denial. Many are skeptical of the results, saying they don’t trust the media’s race call for Biden, the way election officials counted the ballots, the entire voting system in America. Their views echo the unsupported claims Trump has made since Election Day.

This despite the fact that state officials and election experts say the 2020 election unfolded smoothly across the country and without widespread irregularities. Trump and Republicans have pointed to isolated problems, but many are explained by human error. Many of the Trump campaign’s legal challenges have been dismissed in court. And with Biden leading Trump by solid margins in key battleground states, none of those issues would have any impact on the outcome of the election.

Still, any fragment of possibility is enough for some Trump supporters to reject reality, feel aggrieved and rebuff Biden’s calls for unity. Their comments lay out the political challenge ahead for the president-elect: The longer Trump casts doubt on the legitimacy of Biden’s win, the harder it will be for the new president to unite a riven country, as he has said he wants to do.

“I’m really not in a live and let live mood,” said Daniel Echebarria, a 39-year-old school teacher who lives in Sparks, Nevada.

Echebarria said he was surprised by the election results, questioned some of the numbers and would like to see the president continue with his legal challenges. But he also said he doesn’t consider the result “a big rig job” and doesn’t want to see Trump deny the results into January. Still, he’s not feeling particularly united, either.

Echebarria said he believes Democrats never gave Trump a chance to govern and cites the Russia investigation and the impeachment trial as examples.

“I think that the president was prohibited from getting a lot of his agenda done because so much time and effort had to be put against defending against these,” he said.

Several Trump supporters interviewed by The Associated Press in recent days were rankled by widespread celebrations of Biden’s win in liberal cities. They saw hypocrisy in the public, outdoor gatherings after Democrats condemned Trump supporters for attending big rallies — some were held indoors — amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sad” is how Lori Piotrowski sums up her mood. The president of the Boulder City Republican Women club in Nevada at first sounds much like any other deflated supporter.

“You always want your candidate to win. You’re a little let down. You worked hard,” she said.

But Piotrowski also described herself as “extremely” surprised by the result of the election. She’s struggling to reconcile her version of the campaign with the results. She says she saw so many images of large Trump rallies in the final days. On a recent drive from Las Vegas to Reno — through rural, GOP-leaning Nevada — she saw only Trump signs and banners, she said.

“The votes didn’t reflect that amount of enthusiasm. I just find that very surprising,” she said. ”It makes me wonder.”

Biden won Nevada by racking up votes in the state’s urban areas. Read from source….