Four years on, Arizona rancher still 'tickled pink' by Trump

Posted 11 days ago


Cattle rancher Jim Chilton walks beside a fence that is the US-Mexico border on part of his 50,000 acre ranch on October 14, 2016 some 20 miles southeast of Arivaca, Arizona, where a barbed-wire fence is all that separates the two countries

In 2016, Arizona rancher Jim Chilton was so excited about the election of Donald Trump as president that he said his socks were "rolling up and down."

Four years later, the 81-year-old is just as enthusiastic about the upcoming US election and has no doubt which candidate is getting his vote.

"I would give Donald Trump an A plus for his work over the last four years," Chilton told AFP in an interview on video app Zoom during which he was joined by his wife Sue. "We've had some wonderful things happen and we prospered immensely."

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Arizona farmer Jim Chilton during the annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 14, 2019

The couple, who own a ranch on the Arizona border with Mexico and who also spoke with AFP in 2016, just ahead of the US presidential vote, said Trump still has their undying support and they were "tickled pink" at the prospect he could be reelected.

"Remember how I dreamed of having a wall, well it's being built and it should get to our ranch by December or January," gushed Chilton, whose support for Trump in the last election largely hinged on his promise to build a physical barrier along the southern border with Mexico to prevent people from crossing illegally.

Cattle ranchers Jim and Sue Chilton are seen at home on their 50,000 acre ranch in Arivaca, Arizona on October 14, 2016 a few hours drive from where a barbed-wire fence is all that separates the United States and Mexico

Chilton and his 78-year-old spouse also heaped praise on Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic -- describing it as the "Chinese COVID crisis" -- as well as his efforts at deregulation and his pledge to "drain the swamp."

Their views reflect Trump's continued popularity in rural America, which helped lift him to the presidency in 2016 and where he still enjoys strong support among voters like the Chiltons.

"I am better off, I think the country is better off and I look forward to another four wonderful years," said Chilton, a fifth-generation rancher who shook hands with Trump last year when invited to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in New Orleans.

Apart from Trump's progress on building what he has described as a "big, beautiful wall" -- over 300 miles of which have been built but just five miles are new -- the Chiltons said they were happy with his adminis... (Read more)