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2020.11.04 12:19

Lithuanians for Trump: people ‘afraid to say they support' the president

Lukas Kivita, LRT.lt, LRT RADIJAS2020.11.04 12:19

Lithuanian diaspora in the United States has been split along party lines. Those backing Donald Trump say they are afraid of being harassed for their support to the current president.

This is one of two publications about the Lithuanian diaspora in the US during the country's presidential election. Read the story about Lithuanians for Democrats here.

“If I’d put up a poster for Trump in my yard, I could get my windows smashed or my car scratched,” Kęstutis Eidukonis, a former lieutenant colonel in the US military, told LRT RADIO in the run up to America’s November 3 presidential election.

“There are Marxist fanatics. So people often lie or do not answer when pollsters ring their homes,” he added. “You don’t know who is calling and maybe they will do some harm. People are afraid to say they support Trump.”

Eidukonis said he would vote for Trump not because he supported the current president, but because he was against the Democratic Party.

Read more: US election divides Lithuanian diaspora: 'intolerance visible on both sides'

He claimed that the Democrats supported globalism that would destroy “countries such as Lithuania” and also the US. In Eidukonis' view, the Democratic Party was taken over by the left wing.

During Biden’s tenure as the vice president to Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate showed “he was smart, open”, said Eidukonis. “I could like him, and I liked him then, but he is no longer the same person and the Democratic Party is using him to claim the presidency.”

‘Socialism and Marxism’

Daiva Kazlauskienė, head of the Lithuanian community in Philadelphia, said “it is clear that two camps are forming which are not communicating with one another”.

More Lithuanian immigrants in the US tend to support Trump, she added, due to the Democratic Party’s turn to the left, to “socialism and Marxism”.

“I voted for Trump in 2016 because of the need to return jobs to America, [as we] cannot give everything to China” and also Trump’s pledge “to strengthen defence”, she said.

“It’s clearly stated in Biden’s plan that defence spending should be decreased, which would be bad for Lithuania,” added Kazlauskienė.

“Like for Lithuania, energy independence is also important for America. Trump has said, and it’s being done, that America should strengthen gas and oil production, became an exporter,” she said. “The less America produces and exports, the more Putin’s Russia will push their gas and oil pipelines into Europe.”

Although Kazlauskienė said she did not sympathise with every aspect of Trump’s personality, he wa still “a person who does what he says”.

Read more: Lithuanians favour Biden over Trump in US election – survey