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Voters in a Trump stronghold in California react to his conviction

Voters in California's San Joaquin Valley reacted to the historic conviction of former President Donald Trump on Thursday, May 30, 2024.
Joshua Yeager and Esther Quintanilla
/
KVPR
Voters in California's San Joaquin Valley reacted to the historic conviction of former President Donald Trump on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Click here to find the latest headlines from KVPR.

FRESNO, Calif. — Former President Donald Trump’s conviction this week riveted the nation. Some celebrated. Others condemned the verdict.

Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. It was a historic verdict as Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and is actively campaigning for the White House.

KVPR reporters Joshua Yeager and Esther Quintanilla spoke with voters in two conservative strongholds in the San Joaquin Valley moments after the verdict was announced.

Read their comments below:

Ken Simpson, 66, of Bakersfield, says he will vote for former President Donald Trump no matter what.
Joshua Yeager
/
KVPR
Ken Simpson, 66, of Bakersfield, says he will vote for former President Donald Trump no matter what.

Ken Simpson, 66, Bakersfield, mechanic

“It seemed like they were just grasping at straws trying to find anything to put him [Trump] on trial to make him look bad to, you know, affect the election basically. I was gonna be voting for Trump as long as he’s on the ballot.”

Eric Rollins, 55, Clovis, antiques dealer

“This scares me. We have a more powerful government. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be accountable, but I think this charge is ridiculous. Even if Trump is sitting in jail, I will be voting for him.”

Ramona Potts, 62, of Bakersfield, said she still supports former President Donald Trump post-conviction, but would prefer a candidate for president with "less drama."
Joshua Yeager
/
KVPR
Ramona Potts, 62, of Bakersfield, said she still supports former President Donald Trump post-conviction, but would prefer a candidate for president with "less drama."

Ramona Potts, 62, Bakersfield, hair salon owner

“I am a Trump supporter and I’m really upset right now, because I feel this [trial] is a sham and all along they planned on convicting him … I actually would have rather had Ron Desantis [as president]. Just because he comes with less drama.”

Sandra Serrano, 52, Bakersfield, hairdresser

“He’s a political prisoner; they’re trying to make [Trump] not run because he will win, and his base is large. We’re all going to vote for him anyway. They had [Trump] in jail with a mugshot; it didn’t impact him. You know what it did? It made us go out and buy those shirts.”

Matt Art Tuttle, 50, from the Clovis area, is a Democrat and supports the conviction of former President Donald Trump.
Esther Quintanilla
/
KVPR
Matt Art Tuttle, 50, from the Clovis area, is a Democrat and supports the conviction of former President Donald Trump.

Matt Art Tuttle, 50, Clovis, saxophone player

“Just like Nixon, he's going to go down. The only question now is what's next? … I think it's maybe time for some fresh blood, on both sides. It's kind of like eating the same old Denny's pancakes after four years. Trump’s been around a long time. It's time for him to retire to Mar-A-Lago.”

Steven Riley, 71, Fresno, retired

“The only thing it's for is so that Biden can say [Trump is] a convicted criminal. All it was, was a public show. A public waste of money … It's a sad day for America. Sad day. People may not realize it, but it's a completely sad day.”

Joshua Yeager is a Report For America corps reporter covering Kern County for KVPR.
Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.