ANAHEIM, CALIF. —
In the crowd at the Trump rally in Anaheim, California, members of this group are impossible to miss.
Not only are they Chinese, but they are dressed in white T-shirts with red lettering that says “Chinese Americans heart Trump.”
Strangers approach them to take selfies.
Chinese Americans for Trump is bucking the national trend among Asian Americans and supporting Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
A new survey conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows a growing number of Asian Americans identify with the Democratic Party. There are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
Still, the group Chinese Americans For Trump says their numbers are growing across the country.
Members of the group traveled from as far away as Chicago to attend the rally. “We all like Trump. We feel that when he speaks, it’s very straightforward,” says Los Angeles resident Tian Wang, the founder of Chinese Americans for Trump.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump interacts with Asian-American supporter during rally at Anaheim Convention Center, May 25, 2016.
When Wang discovered videos of billionaire Donald Trump speaking on the internet, he couldn’t get enough of this plain spoken guy. Through the Chinese social media app WeChat, he started organizing, and Chinese Americans for Trump was born. Its membership has grown to about 2000 people across the U.S.
"When he only had 1% support in the country, we were behind him, until now when he is the Republican nominee. We believe he will definitely become president,” said Wang.
While some would describe Trump as blunt and politically incorrect, members of Chinese Americans for Trump, such as Nancy Jian, called the billionaire candidate fatherly.
“I feel I can understand the way he talks. It’s like a parent. My father often uses this type of tone to talk to us when we don’t listen to him. Our father will scold us but I believe it’s not a big problem. The key point is when it comes to Trump’s idea of how to govern the country, his entrepreneurial spirit… he is very tough,” said Jian.
Trump’s tough stance included some strong words during his campaign on China calling it a currency manipulator.
“I feel it’s not a problem because I believe he will make a correct and wise decision. Also he’s said in the past when dealing with North Korea, he will let China solve the problem. The United States is already dealing with a lot of difficulties. We don’t want to go to war. We really need to improve our economy. We need to support this kind of talented leader,” Jian said.
“I don’t feel Trump has said anything against China. Trump all the time said 'I love China, I love Chinese people.' He loves us,” said Wang.
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, waves during a campaign event in Lawrenceville, N.J., May 19, 2016.
Trump values = Chinese values
He said he supports Trump and the Republican Party because conservative values are more in line with core Chinese values.
“Especially the same sex bathroom issue. Come on, Obama,” Wang said, although Trump has taken multiple stands on the issue
“The legalization of marijuana and the legalization of same sex marriage are all issues we really don’t like -- we’re against them. When we came to the United States, what was most important to us was our future. The reason we came is because it’s democratic and free, the land of opportunity. If we go on this path and everyone smokes marijuana, if all the kids go down the wrong path, and become gay, then won’t it be chaos?” asked group member Vivian Chen.
Members of Chinese Americans for Trump are in the minority. In a poll conducted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and AAPI Data, 50% of Chinese American voters have an unfavorable view of Trump. The real estate mogul only has a 17% favorable rating among Chinese Americans and a 19% favorable rating among all Asian American voters. 61% of Asian Americans view him unfavorably.
However, Chinese Americans for Trump members say Trump is their answer to the type of change needed in the U.S.