In rural Lone Rock, Wis., where harvest season had meant yet another long workday on Thursday, Randy Schmidt, 60, a dairy farmer, said the president’s appeal for military aid was “going to be a hard sell in these parts.”
Mr. Schmidt owns the largest dairy farm in Richland County, a swing district that had voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1980, until 2020, when voters there went for former President Trump’s re-election.
“I mean, money comes hard here,” Mr. Schmidt said. “It’s been a relatively tough year of farming for us. I think as a country, we do support Israel, but I couldn’t believe we can do that much.”
In suburban Milwaukee, however, the questions posed by the violence in the Middle East and Ukraine were less economic than moral for Janet Lucas. The terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israelis, in particular, were triggering for her, she said.
“I understand that there has been a fight between the two for years and years,” said Ms. Lucas, 58. “But the way that it was handled recently, my heart just broke of the devastation,” she said of the Hamas killings and kidnappings of Israeli families. “It took me back to 9/11 — the same feeling, the same fear of, you know, is it going to happen to us, or who’s next?”
On Friday she went to Holy Hill, a basilica on a forested hillside, a country drive away from her community, Brookfield, to take in the fall colors with her son, Michael, 25, who was in town from Tampa, Fla. As African Americans, they said, they felt conflicted about the president’s call to side with Israel. They could not condone terrorist attacks, they said, but sympathized with Palestinians and what they see as the long discrimination they have endured.
“There are times when I sit in the middle, because I can see both sides of it,” Janet Lucas said. “And then I also think, is there another way, could the United States or any other country get involved to help them to come to some form of peace?”