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Deeply Divided Couple Learns How To Navigate Politics In Trump Era

Jan 19, 2017
Originally published on January 19, 2017 9:34 pm

Many Americans are still deeply divided about the next president. That includes some married couples, like Marty and Jessica Halprin of Woodbridge, Conn. He supported Trump, she supported Clinton.

In November, they talked about their tense night watching the election results.

These days, Jessica says things have gotten less tense in their house. She says she's even noticed some cracks in Marty's support for Trump.

Marty agrees that things have gotten less tense. But he says the election made for a tough Thanksgiving with Jessica's extended family.

"I was actually banned from any conversation, any paraphernalia whatsoever, about Trump," he tells NPR's Robert Siegel.

"It was a very quiet Thanksgiving for me," he says. "To me, the tone was set before Thanksgiving even started. I didn't even get the benefit of the doubt."

Jessica notes that her husband "really self-censored."

The Halprins have received a lot of support from friends and family who are also dealing with political division in their families, Jessica says.

"I have felt a little defensive of my husband, the man whom I love, the man who deviates in such a significant way from my own reasoning in the election, and having to justify that to people. I've actually never been in that circumstance," she says.

"On the other hand, I like to lead by example, and say to my friends, say to my neighbors, that I am not afraid to have this discussion with you. And let's talk about how my husband could make the wrong decision but still be a good person," she says, with a laugh.

For his part, Marty says he is still in favor of Trump and is "still hopeful that he will do what's right for the country."

"But he does disappoint me sometimes. For example, when he did his press conference the other day and he completely shut out the CNN reporter and wouldn't even let him ask the question. The tweeting — that's him, unfortunately. But I'm not sure it should happen with the future president."

Use the audio link above to hear the full conversation.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, Americans are still deeply divided about the next president. That includes some married couples who voted differently in the election, couples like Marty and Jessica Halprin. They live in Woodbridge, Conn. He supported Trump. She supported Clinton. We talked to them back in November, and they told us about their tense night watching the election results.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

JESSICA HALPRIN: I really hate to sound melodramatic, but I was devastated.

MARTY HALPRIN: It was a long night of not enough sleep. The TV was on. Shortly after things didn't look well for Hillary, the TV got shut off.

SIEGEL: With the inauguration coming up, we reached back out to the Halprins to see how they're doing. Jessica says things have gotten less tense in their house. She says she's even noticed some cracks in Marty's support for Trump. Marty agrees that things have gotten less tense, but he says the election made for a tough Thanksgiving with Jessica's extended family.

M. HALPRIN: I was actually banned from any conversation, any paraphernalia whatsoever.

SIEGEL: You had to leave the red baseball cap at home or somewhere packed away.

M. HALPRIN: Yes, and my Trump sunglasses as well.

SIEGEL: Marty, just how bad was Thanksgiving?

(LAUGHTER)

M. HALPRIN: It was not the - it was a very quiet Thanksgiving for me. It was not the normal one that I've experienced in previous years. To me, the tone was set before Thanksgiving even started. I didn't even get the benefit of the doubt.

J. HALPRIN: He really self-censored, and he wasn't allowed to use humor as a way to sort of decompress the situation, which is a bit of a shame.

SIEGEL: Have you been able to discuss all this with other people - neighbors, community, family, friends? Have they reacted to your division, Jessica?

J. HALPRIN: Actually, we've received a lot of support. We have friends who heard our first interview at NPR across the nation and sent some really nice support that they, too, were dealing with division within their families and didn't know how to address it and were also embarrassed or ashamed in sharing with others that they were from houses divided.

I have felt a little defensive of my husband, the man whom I love, the man who deviates in such, what I feel, a very significant way from my own reasoning in the election and having to justify that to people. I've have actually never been in that circumstance.

On the other hand, I like to lead by example and say to my friends, say to my neighbors that I am not afraid to have this discussion with you, and let's talk about how my husband could make the wrong decision but still be a good person.

(LAUGHTER)

SIEGEL: Marty, you appreciate that?

M. HALPRIN: Very much so. It's incredible.

SIEGEL: Jessica said that she has sensed some cracks in your support of Donald Trump since the election. Is she right? Have you softened at all on your...

M. HALPRIN: Well, I think I'm still in favor of him, and I'm still hopeful that he will do what's right for the country. But he does disappoint me sometimes, you know, for example, when he did his press conference the other day and he completely shut out the CNN reporter and wouldn't even let him ask the question. The tweeting - you know, that's him, unfortunately, but I'm not sure it should happen with the future president.

SIEGEL: There was so much attention paid to the idea that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. Has any of that stuff had an impact on you? Marty, we'll start with you.

M. HALPRIN: You know, at this point in time, it really hasn't had an impact on me until I see actual proof and it's proven that they had involvement. Then I might think differently, but it wouldn't have changed the outcome of my vote.

SIEGEL: And, Jessica, has it affected you?

J. HALPRIN: Oh, you didn't see me roll my eyes when Marty just spoke? Yeah, I guess not.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) Well, looking ahead to the inauguration and the weekend that follows, what kind of plans do you have?

M. HALPRIN: A big celebration.

(LAUGHTER)

J. HALPRIN: Oh, my God. Marty, what plans do you have?

M. HALPRIN: I'm going to listen to it as much as my schedule allows. My wife wants to be part of the movement and go march with all the other crazy people out there.

J. HALPRIN: Seriously?

M. HALPRIN: Maybe I shouldn't say crazy.

(LAUGHTER)

M. HALPRIN: Passionate people - with all the other...

J. HALPRIN: There you go.

M. HALPRIN: ...Passionate people out there, all the #HesNotMyPresident people.

J. HALPRIN: You're not even on Twitter.

M. HALPRIN: The Democrats and Republicans who are not going to the inauguration need to stop. You know, I said it last time, and I'll say it again. Everybody needs to get over it. Move on. Let's see what he can do.

J. HALPRIN: Can we say nothing to him? At what point...

M. HALPRIN: You can say anything you want to him.

J. HALPRIN: (Laughter).

M. HALPRIN: He might not actually listen or respond to you.

J. HALPRIN: We can go around and around on this (laughter).

SIEGEL: Yeah, I can hear.

(LAUGHTER)

SIEGEL: I get the idea. Marty and Jessica Halprin of Woodbridge, Conn., thanks for talking with us once again.

J. HALPRIN: It's been our pleasure.

M. HALPRIN: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE MONKS SONG, "I HATE YOU") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.