Larry Seng, a 46-year-old Cambodian-American living in Seattle, fled his homeland in the 1980s as civil war raged.
Now an engineer at Boeing, the longtime Republican voter says he will not support the party’s candidate this year, businessman Donald Trump.
“I always wonder again and again [why the] Republicans allowed Donald Trump to become the presidential candidate as Mr. Trump does not have experience in politics,” he said.
Seng is one of many thousand Cambodian-Americans grappling with the decision of who to vote for ahead of the November 8 poll. He says despite his support for the Republicans, he is voting for the Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, this time round.
“He is good at business,” Seng continues, referring to Trump. “[But] when he becomes the presidential candidate, many in the party withdrew the confidence. That is [because] the supporters feel disappointed and it is not only me.”
Others feel differently.
Muy Chamroeun, a US Army veteran living in Washington, DC, said he is voting for Trump following allegations surfaced that Clinton used a private email server for official business when she was secretary of state.
As a superpower, Chamroeun says the US must still “not work above the law.”
“If she does that, the small countries like Cambodia will do that [without a thought],” he says.
“Hillary will try to blame him [Trump] for womanizing or not respecting females … these are just little things compared to the mistakes that Hillary did,” he adds.
Echoing a similar position on Trump, Him Horn of Springfied, VA, a mechanic, said he would vote for the Republican candidate “even though he is so aggressive.”
“ But he is republican. And I understand that if Trump does not work well, the next term we can vote to drop him down,” he added.
Sereyrod Chhin, however, is turned off by Trump’s style.
He is voting for Clinton, “Because her personality is not as aggressive as Donald Trump.”
“Donald Trump is a businessman but he is so aggressive. So, I do not want the president with aggressive mode to be my leader at all.”
Many Cambodian-Americans said they were unconcerned by foreign policy and based their decision on domestic issues.
For Seng, the former Republican voter from Seattle, the widespread support the Clinton campaign has received from “top leaders” and Clinton’s “experience in administration and governance” was the deciding factor.
Cambodian-Americans Split Over Trump and Clinton Ahead of Polls