Even as controversy surrounds Trump and polls show his approval rating near historic lows, many voters here in Blue Earth County are unwavering in their support. What drew them to Trump in the first place — and still holds them close — is his blunt, brash, take-no-prisoners attitude.

“I think he’ll get this country straightened out,” said Don Marben, 74, owner, editor and publisher of the weekly Lake Crystal Tribune. “He calls a spade a spade.”

It’s a sentiment echoing across this southern Minnesota county, which overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race but flipped narrowly for Trump in November. While Hillary Clinton won Mankato, a college town and regional center of 40,000 along the banks of the Minnesota River, Trump carried the small towns and rural countryside with his “Make America Great Again” pledge to win the county by 3 percentage points.