Eastern students attended presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s rally March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, in the Kentucky International Convention Center located in Louisville. According to the students, there were many people in attendance. It was split between supporters, protesters and those who were curious to see what a Trump rally is like first hand.
Clarissa Baker, 18, a freshman public relations major from Mt. Sherman, said she noticed that a vast majority of the people inside the center were supporters and the protesters were standing outside.
“It was scary to watch how they treated protesters,” Baker said.
Baker said that a lot of the protesters who managed to enter the center were heckled; supporters were being physically and verbally abusive to protesters. Baker also said her friend was assaulted while attempting to move through the crowd to have something signed and Trump yelled to get the protesters out. According to Baker, when the protesters were dragged out the crowd would chant “USA” and Trump would say, “The wall just got two times higher.”
“It was jarring to be in the moment,” Baker said, “I was scared for my life and I’m white.”
Baker said Trump stated there were over 20,000 people who attended the event in support of him. Baker said she disagreed with his statement because she knew the convention center capacity is listed as 5,000 people, according to the Kentucky International Convention Center website.
Baker said she went to the event with a friend who is a Trump supporter. She said Trump mostly discussed the wall he planned to build, talked about Secretary Hillary Clinton and coal. Baker said that she did not hear anything of substance.
“I didn’t hear anything as to why I should vote for Trump,” Baker said.
Baker said she would be willing to attend another Trump rally if he had anything good to say. She said the rally was something that can be described as “one and done” but is a way to receive lots of information.
Another EKU student, Zoe Keller, 19, sophomore police studies major from Springdale, Ark., said the event was similar to a pep rally. She attended the rally with her husband and a friend as protesters. They made signs that opposed Trump; one sign said “Trump for Chancellor” and another had pictures of the Annoying Orange with a gerbil for hair and Trump quotes.
Keller said that the media isn’t spinning what Trump says out of proportion and he really is how they portray him.
Keller said her group was part of the Facebook group called “Empty the Seats.” She said the group’s plan was to supposedly leave in the middle of the rally but she and a few other members of the group kept being escorted out, causing the plan to wither.
Keller said a few supporters told her that people died for her right to protest, she kept being asked how old she was and when she came to America, Keller said she was also reprimanded by supporters for attending the event and not being at work. Which, Keller said, she found ironic considering the supporters weren’t at work either. Keller said she met a Muslim man who bought a Trump hat for his own protection and saw supporters ripping up signs.
Keller said the majority of the people inside were supporters. She said she would attend another rally, primarily for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. She said she would also go to another Trump rally because of all the people she met, but Keller said the rallies are becoming more volatile.
“Being there you’re aware of the risk,” Keller said describing the experience as exhilarating like bungee jumping.