Suburban Pennsylvania women torn on President Trump and 2020 Democrats: "The lesser of the evils"

How will suburban Penn. women vote in 2020?
How will suburban Penn. women vote in 2020? 08:10

President Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than 1%. To win in the upcoming election, he or the 2020 Democrat will need support from a crucial group of voters in the swing state: suburban women.

Eight women across the political spectrum from suburbs outside of Philadelphia told "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason what they thought about Mr. Trump, the Democratic candidates and issues like the economy and foreign policy. Here's what they had to say:

On President Trump

Four of the women said they could not vote for Mr. Trump. One of them, Melinda Wolff, said she doesn't like to be labeled as either a Democrat or a Republican, but describing a candidate she would vote for, said, "I want somebody I can look up to, somebody that has dignity, somebody that's not bullying."

MaryEllen Digregorio, who flipped from voting Democrat to voting for Mr. Trump in 2016, said she doesn't "see Trump as bullying."

"I see him challenging because the ridiculous that goes on sometimes," she said. "I thought it was refreshing to find a businessman who made himself a millionaire want to work for me."

"I do have to ask, don't you think he's very thin-skinned?" Cynthia Sabatini, an Independent who is registered as a Republican, asked Digregorio about Mr. Trump.

"Listen, my husband's thin-skinned and a whackadoodle, and I'm still with him 26 years," she said.

Sabatini said she thinks a politician "needs to be thicker skinned and not excoriate those who disagree with him."

Julia Bohnenberger, a registered Republican who said she voted for Mr. Trump "because he was the most qualified candidate," said part of Mr. Trump's appeal is that he "punches back" at people.

Past Republicans, she said, have "failed because they've taken the high road and they've been buried by it."

"I'm not saying that this necessarily appeals to me, but I think Trump appeals to a lot of people because he punches back," she said.

Mary Lou Doyle, who plans to vote for Mr. Trump in the 2020 election, said the president "isn't everyone's cup of tea, without a doubt."

"I don't like everything he says," she said. "I don't need him to be like me. I need to be safe, and I need to be able to know that my economy for my friends, my family is solid."

On the Democratic candidates

Charrele Robinson-Brown, a Democrat with "some conservative ideals," was the only Democrat in the group who had chosen who she will vote for. She said she has picked former Vice President Joe Biden.

Asked why, she said, "Honestly, the lesser of the evils."

"He's got past experience," Digregorio pointed out.

Wolff said she will vote for "who can best beat Trump."

Debbie Morse, a Democrat, agreed with Wolff. "And I do think Biden's probably at the top of the list, but I'm still looking at the other candidates also."

Nelly Jimenez, an Independent who said she will not vote for Mr. Trump, said she is concerned she'll have to vote "for the less evil of the Democratic party or whoever else shows up."  

"I am disappointed. I don't have choices. I don't feel that I have someone who's going to move me," she said.

Sabatini argued Jimenez could write in a candidate instead. "I did a write-in in 2016," she said. "My family took issue with me that I was complicit in Trump's election … But it was a matter of conscience."

On foreign policy

Mr. Trump's "international policy has been bold and effective in ways that we never anticipated. Getting rid of ISIS, getting rid of Soleimani, getting rid of al-Baghdadi," Bohnenberger said.

"I will tell you personally, I'm a Zionist," she added. "For a president to so boldly stand for Israel is very important to me, and I'm a Christian, by the way."

Bohnenberger also said strong borders were important to her.

Jimenez said she was concerned about the way people and children have been treated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"There is a lot of issues for me there about racial profiling," she said. "The issue of the border is one that I can't forget or forgive."
Robinson-Brown agreed. "I think that Donald Trump is allowing people to make the decision to mistreat people at the border, to have racially charged marches," she said.

Robinson-Brown said she likes that Mr. Trump takes hard stances on some things, but, she said, "he's not taking the hard stance on the racial issues, which are very close to me because I'm a black female."

"We need for him to take a hard line … and say, 'Hey listen, we don't act like that here,'" she added.

On the economy

"I like the fact that my portfolio looks pretty nice right now. I can make my taxes next year 'cause as time goes by cost of living does not match the cost of really living," Digregorio said.

Sabatini questioned the tax cuts under Mr. Trump.

"Economic fairness is very important to me," she said. "I'm not a Bernie Sanders supporter, I'm not an Elizabeth Warren supporter, but I believe that the Tax Act of 2017 was skewed in favor of the half of the 1%."

"And the corporations as well," added Doyle.