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Donald Trump's Victory Office opens in Reisterstown

Donald Trump's Victory Office opens in Reisterstown
Trump supporter David Walsh's pickup truck with his handmade Republican elephant. (J.M. Giordano/City Paper)

Donald Trump's campaign opened its Baltimore Area Trump Victory Office, aka the local campaign headquarters, on Thursday.

Not suprisingly, The Donald's Make-America-Great-Again compatriots didn't nestle into a majestic brownstone in Mount Vernon or a swanky, industrial-re-use loft in Clipper Mill or a Formstone rowhouse in Sandtown, but in majority white Reisterstown, a good half-hour north of the city limits.

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The campaign's image remains intact.

In a quaint yellow brick home on the town's Main Street, a volunteer sets up a small phone bank in front of a cozy dining room fireplace while other volunteers pass out bumper stickers and yard signs in the kitchen.

Joe Sliwka, one of the local volunteer coordinators, says the opening of campaign offices here and in Salisbury and Frederick is set to coincide with the start of early voting in Maryland. Echoing Trump fans across the country, Sliwka says, "All my family is for Trump because we believe he speaks for the silent majority and says the things others won't."

Chikongola Linton, a 68-year-old volunteer wearing a "Vietnam Veteran" baseball cap, says that as an African-American, he feels welcome in the Trump camp.

"When the Republican Party uses the term conservative, we think it's just for white people all together, just for white folks," he says. "That's it. Nobody else can come in." Linton doesn't see it that way. "[Trump] is opening this up and inviting us to come in."

That's part of why he stepped through the doors ready to volunteer on Trump's campaign. But he recognizes many African-Americans think differently. "A lot of black people are making a lot of mistakes," he says.

Sliwka, who works for the Harford County government's transit system, says he is here because he admires Trump's self-sacrificing spirit. "He's a billionaire and he doesn't have to do this," he says, "but in his heart, he's putting America's good before his own."

Still, the candidate's generosity (and indeed, the term Americans) has limits.

Sliwka, after carefully explaining how to pronounce his Polish name, explains his top three reasons for supporting Trump are one, because "he's self-funding his whole campaign and is not beholden to anyone"; two, "America lacks good leadership"; and three, "immigration is out of control to the point where we have no borders." This last one really gets him. "It's raping the taxpayers because we're paying for these immigrants," he says. "Obviously, immigration is a huge issue here."

Here?

The town seems homogeneous—the 36 residents who signed up to volunteer are all, save Linton, white. If immigrants have flooded the town, they've made themselves scarce today.

"Well, not a huge issue here, but nationwide," Sliwka corrects. He has followed the Trump campaign, so he knows this and admires Trump for tackling the immigration crisis. "I think America's looking for a leader and wants someone to stand up for America and fight for America."

Behind him, as he stands on the back porch talking, a cluster of those Americans pass their cell phones around asking for photos as they vie for their moment to bask in the glory of the giant Trump-mobile parked in the driveway, a pickup truck hauling an over-sized star-spangled elephant.

Kenneth Stone Breckenridge contributed to this report

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