NYT Reporter Surprised by Trump Voter Who Says She’d Choose a Border Wall Over Her House

'For the greater good, you have to make sacrifices'

• June 14, 2018 4:58 pm


An Ohio resident who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 surprised then-New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor last year when she said she would rather have a wall on the U.S. southern border than receive support from a federal government program that helped repair her home, according to a recently aired clip of the exchange.

Alcindor, now a reporter for PBS, last year visited a family in Trumbull County, Ohio that benefited from the congressionally-funded HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which helps low-income families repair their homes.

While Alcindor reported on her experience in April 2017, Showtimes' documentary series "The Fourth Estate" aired footage of her visit this past weekend. The series focuses on how the Times is reporting the news during the Trump presidency.

"I'm going to talk to a couple that voted for Trump about the repairs that were done to their home through a program that the Trump administration wants to eliminate," Alcindor said in a voice-over as she drove to the home of Tammy and Joseph Pavlic—44 and 42, respectively.

The Pavlics appear to be the typical working-class family that helped propel Trump to the presidency. The family applied to the HOME program in 2015 to help repair their home, the Times reported.

By 2015, Ms. Pavlic was supporting her husband and their three children on an annual salary of $9,000, earned at a restaurant. That year, they tapped a county program funded by Congress, called the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, to help repair their house.

Tammy explained to Alcindor that her income would never have covered the costs to repair their home.

"Last year I made $13,000," Tammy said. "So all those repairs—the roof, and the furnace, and the windows, and I mean all of those things—there was just absolutely no way that we were going to be able to ever do it."

"So the reason why I'm writing a story about the program is because in President Trump's budget he says they are low priority programs. As people who supported him, do you see these programs as low priority?" Alcindor asked.

Joseph said he understood needing to make cuts in order to make a budget work.

"With the rough times we've had, I understand having to look at a budget and make cuts," he said. "It's about getting the agenda done and putting America back in order again."

Tammy then said that if she had to choose between getting her home repaired or the country constructing a wall along the southern border, she would choose the latter.

"If today I had to make the decision, ‘OK, you can have your house done or you can, you know, are they going to cut it and put it towards a wall,' I think it's important that the wall is built," she said. "For the greater good, you have to make sacrifices."

Alcindor also asked the couple how Trump can relate to a family like theirs.

"He isn't a politician," Tammy said. "As rich as the man is, he can relate to the regular person. So I think we need more and more people like him."

Published under: New York Times, PBS, President Trump