A Trump sticker made its way onto her hijab, and she was handed a large Trump sign and directed to the front of the group, so she could be interviewed by a local news station.
Ms. Yusuf, 34, a Muslim immigrant from Ethiopia who lives in Minneapolis, and her husband appeared to be the only nonwhites among roughly 300 people who gathered Sunday at the American Legion in this Minneapolis suburb.
One volunteer begged her to do an on-camera interview. “You are a brave, beautiful woman, and I’m proud of you,” the volunteer told Ms. Yusuf, who obliged. Chris Hupke, a Trump adviser, posed for a picture beside Ms. Yusuf, flashing a thumbs-up and then asking for her name. (Her husband was largely overlooked.)
“From the minute I came inside, everybody welcomed me,” Ms. Yusuf said. “It showed me a different thing — not hate but love.”
Ms. Yusuf is well aware that her decision to caucus tonight for Mr. Trump will surprise many people — and that the sight of a hijab-wearing Muslim holding a Trump sign can cause people to do a double take.
She does not pretend to agree with Mr. Trump’s proposal to bar Muslim immigrants from entering the country. “That was hurtful,” Ms. Yusuf said.
But she does not consider Mr. Trump a bad person, just ill-informed.
“I believe he has a heart, so I will overlook that,” she said. “He doesn’t know a lot about the Muslim community. I want to give him a chance to see who we are. We are not terrorists. We are great Muslim Americans. We are his people.”
It’s clear Ms. Yusuf has mixed emotions about Mr. Trump’s stance on immigration. As an immigrant, she empathizes with the plight of Mexicans pursuing a better life in the United States. “We need the wall,” she said, “but I’m concerned also about their lives, because they are seeking help.”
And she hasn’t read up on his proposal to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, which gives her pause. “When he says illegal immigrants,” she asked, “what does he mean by that?”
What does propel her is the belief that Mr. Trump can be, as he has boasted, “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Since earning an accounting degree from a community college in St. Paul in 2010, she said she had applied for more than 20 accounting positions and had not received a single offer. In her view, she has done her part to achieve the American dream, but America hasn’t upheld its end of the bargain.
“I feel cheated,” Ms. Yusuf said.
Instead, she’s working two part-time jobs — earning $11 an hour as a physical therapist assistant and $9 an hour working in child care — and pouring all of her income into rent. To cover other expenses, like diapers and wipes for her 15-month-old son, she’s borrowing on her mother’s credit card.
“It feels to me like: ‘You should be better than this. You shouldn’t be using your mom,’” she said.
Yet Ms. Yusuf is optimistic about the future. She said she trusted that Mr. Trump could create more good-paying jobs, bring some back from overseas and lower taxes so small-business owners could make additional hires. Then everything will start adding up again, she said, and life will be easier for her and her five children.
“We need to support Trump for a great America,” she said.
They’re not trying very hard to hide it, are they? “I believe he has a heart, so I will overlook that,” she said. “He doesn’t know a lot about the Muslim community. I want to give him a chance to see who we are. We are not terrorists. We are great Muslim Americans. We are his people.”