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I Went To A Trump Rally & Here’s What Happened

Months ago, on April 11, I finished up my day by attending the Albany, N.Y. Trump rally, which was held at the Times Union Center. Let me begin by disclaiming that I didn’t film the event, or take extensive notes, and am operating here based upon my memory and a rash of hastily composed tweets. I’m sure there are things that happened that I have forgotten, and I’m sure there are things that I speak about that are not as detailed as they could be had the rally been a few days ago instead.

Let me also state right away that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a proponent of Donald Trump. To put it into perspective, isidewith.com gives me a 15 percent agreement with him over all major policies. I attended the Bernie rally at the Washington Avenue Armory that same morning, and was firm in my support of him. But despite that, I wanted to go to the Trump rally in person to hear from the man himself what his plans for his presidency were. I wanted to see for myself if the media twisted his words and villainized him as much as he and his supporters claimed, and if a rally would be just as scary live as it seemed on TV.

They don’t, and it was.

Because of reports of the violence often incited at Trump rallies, I was genuinely afraid to go alone. Because of this I almost didn’t go, but I found out pretty last minute that my friend Susie was there. She saved seats for me and our friend Lotte, a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands, who wanted to come as well. It was part of the American experience, she joked, and she wanted to see what the fuss about Trump was really all about.

Within the first five minutes of being there, I was already rolling my eyes. We weren’t through security when I noticed a white teenage-to-early-twenties boy with a fake mustache, sombrero and horrid accent, pretending to be Mexican. I wish I could say this was the most racist thing we experienced all night, but it wasn’t.

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From our seats, I could see that there were maybe a handful of people in the crowd who were not white. Two handfuls, to be generous. In front of us sat a middle aged white couple, behind us, a row of blonde haired blue eyed teenage girls. In the section to our right, a family was seated that had brought their two young sons, who were each probably somewhere between 7-11 years old. Before any of the speakers took the stage, those two little boys screamed out, “Build the wall!” The teenagers behind us encouraged it, shouting, “That’s right, little dudes!” and the whole arena caught on, chants of “Build the wall” circulating around like the wave. I already felt sick.

This went on and off until the first of three people introducing Donald Trump took the stage. A woman led the pledge of allegiance, and then sang “God Bless America”—which she wasn’t very good at—twice. The small round of hesitant applause as she walked off of the stage gave the boys to the right of us the perfect opportunity to start the chants again. The hatred radiating off of the majority of the arena was astounding, but it was the kids who scared me the most. A 7-year-old does not know the connotations of the wall he is screaming for. He doesn’t know what the economic, sociological or international consequences will be—He only knows that he earns his parents’ approval when he shouts. For a moment, he gets to be the leader.

I’m not suggesting that it’s not important to educate children about politics, but we shouldn’t be forcing our political agendas onto children who are too young to understand what these agendas truly entail (and yes, I did in fact say the same thing about children at the Bernie rally). We should be offering them the tools they need to explore all of their options, so they can form their own opinions. Now, the kids who grew up attending these rallies are going to end up hateful towards an entire race, religion, gender and more, with no idea why.

The next intro was a woman who had been on The Apprentice in its early seasons. She was only a first- or second-generation American, and the words, “Donald Trump is bigger than life. He’s so down to earth,” actually came out of her mouth, so I was certain she was going to end with something along the line of, “F*ck Trump, vote for literally anyone else.” She did not.

The final intro was from an older gentleman. I don’t remember who he was or what he did, but he brought out a little girl named Ava with him. He shouted out, “Are we gonna build the wall? Are we gonna make Mexico pay for it?” multiple times, and when the crowd wasn’t giving him what he wanted, he tried to get them to shout for Ava instead. That only worked once or twice.

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He also used the word “festering” to describe every single liberal, but as he rambled on about how horrible any liberal person was, I thought he was really describing himself. The old couple in front of us were not pleased with me for pointing it out. He mentioned the wall no less than seven times in his less than 20-minute speech, but was firm in his belief that it’s the liberal candidates who have no substantial material in their campaigns.

“Uptown Girl” began to play after he left the stage, and I cannot even begin to descrive to you how disappointed I was that it was not Trump’s walk on music. Eventually he showed up, though. His excuse for being late went something like this: “Wow, what a great crowd. Sorry for the delay, but we wanted to let as many people in as we could! Finally, though, we had to say enough. They should’ve gotten here earlier, like you! But there just aren’t enough seats for everyone; there are thousands and thousands of people outside that couldn’t get in!”

Fact check: We arrived only about 20 minutes before the rally was supposed to begin, and there was virtually no line to get in. It took less than 10 minutes to get through security. Additionally, the TU Center has a capacity of 17,500—it’s got the floor, a 100 section and a 200 section. If you took all the stragglers who chose to sit in the 200 sections and moved them down to fill in space in the 100 section and the floor, those two areas still wouldn’t have been at capacity. There was plenty of room to continue to fill in the supposed line of people that had been denied entry.

Next, he briefly discussed protesters. This rally happened right around the time that Trump supporters were under major fire for assaulting protesters, so Trump’s solution was to theatrically order his supporters not to touch the protestors, but instead wave his signs and shout “Trump!” until the “cops” came to have the protester removed. I guess he’s assuming his supporters aren’t going to shout his name and wave their signs to, oh I don’t know… show their support for him or something.

He then spoke about how much he loved New York and New York Values; he talked about 9/11, and his admiration for how resilient the people are and how brave the first responders are. This was one of two things Trump and I agreed on that night.

Finally, after buttering everybody up, he could get to his plans for his presidency. Or not. He got distracted by his own campaign and had to stop and revel for a moment—”I’m a politician!” he exclaimed. “Can you believe it?!” Nope, can’t say that I can. “I know so much about government, folks…” No you don’t.

He rambled on for a while about how Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton were liars, but never really got around to telling us exactly what they were lying about. Listening to him speak was like listening to a kindergartener throw a tantrum over a neighbor stealing his pencil, except that he can’t catch his breath enough to actually explain why he’s upset. He keeps jumping from one sentence to another, mid-word.

As he continued to ramble on about his opponents, the first protester of the evening made himself known. Trump said, “Get him out! Don’t hurt him, but get him out! It makes for a good time, though. Is there anything more fun than a Trump rally?” Literally anything else. The row of teenagers behind us were not pleased with me for verbalizing this.

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He used the protester as an opening to move on to his second topic, and started talking about the Mexican border and ISIS. Yes, at the same time. He gave the protester a second chance to stay inside and be quiet and, from what I gathered, second chances are how we get illegal immigrants and religious extremists (This is my assumption here, as before he could really tell us what he meant he moved on to talking about his opponents again).

Next, he moved back on to Mexicans. “The Mexicans love me, we have a great relationship,” he said. “They’re voting for me; they know I’ll bring jobs back.” I found this funny as well, as the only person of (actual) Mexican descent I saw all night was my friend Susie, who is decidedly not a Trump supporter. But the Mexican support reminded him of his big and powerful wall, the one that he’s gonna make Mexico pay for. “They’re not gonna drive their trucks into or over the wall with their drugs,” he said. I don’t think he fully understands how a wall works, but we weren’t given the chance to see if he could prove that he does, as another protester interrupted him. As he was escorted out, Trump suggested that he should sit down with protesters, assuming they are legit. I can’t help but wonder what makes them legit or not, and what sitting down with an illegitimate protestor would mean?

He took a brief moment to discuss Bernie. In one short span, he said that he agreed with Bernie on a lot of things, that they were alike because the political system is rigged against them. Then he said he didn’t like Bernie.

Just as quickly, he was back to the Mexicans. Even with the wall, “the Mexicans love me and they’re all voting for me.” They love the wall! That sounds fake, but okay.

He was back on ISIS after that. I don’t remember the entire context for this next part, but I believe he was accusing cell phones of either being the reason ISIS exists (no longer the protester’s fault, I guess), or being the reason that ISIS is able to recruit American members. “We have cell phones and they have ISIS symbols on them, probably,” were actual words out of his mouth, and were apparently enough of an explanation for him to believe what he was saying.

As another protester interrupted, he shouted, “Don’t hurt him! He’s smiling because he knows we won’t hurt him!” (But does he? Once again, this was around the time his rallies were very violent.) He continued, “But the dishonest media will say, ‘Oh, Trump raised his voice and was very mean…’” I will concede that in this instance, he was not. But he then went on to say that his rallies are the safest there are. Fact check!

The safety of his rallies seemed to remind him of the safety of women, as the next words out of his mouth were, “Nobody respects women more than Donald Trump, let me tell you.” That was it. Those were the only words he had to say about women, and I’m almost certain just about anybody else in the world respects women more.

All of this took up almost an hour. There was no discussion of environmental policies, nothing on education or even immigration (beyond the wall), and nothing on healthcare or war (beyond 9/11). Instead of touching on any of these important topics, he started talking about his presidential win. “We’re gonna start winning, folks, and we’re gonna win it bigly.” This was not the last time he used that word and expected to be taken seriously for it (though apparently, he’s really saying “big league“).

Just before the end of the rally, he finally talked about some of his actual policies. “We’re gonna reform education and terminate the common core.” This is the second of two things I agreed with Trump on; however, that was all he had to say. No explanation as to how he was going to make education better. Then, he briefly spoke about healthcare. “We’re gonna recall Obamacare and replace it with something better.” But again, what is that something better going to be? There are so many things Trump claims he’s going to improve, but he doesn’t show any indication of having any actual plans to improve them! Even during an hour-long rally, where the point is to rile up your supporters and tell them how you’re going to do what you promise, his only concrete plan for improvement or funding was making Mexico pay for a damn wall.

He couldn’t stay on one topic for more than a few moments. The whole thing was truly a wild ride. It really was back and forth from topic A to B to A to C to D to A to E, and so forth. Some of the most ridiculous rhetoric I’ve ever heard came out of his mouth in the span of an hour. I’ve never witnessed so much hatred or ignorance in one place before, and if anything, attending the rally only worsened his image in my eyes. When you can’t concentrate on one topic for more than a minute, and when you interrupt your rant to rant about something else, and when you openly admit to and encourage hateful tactics and fear mongering, you are not fit to run a country.

As we left, supporters and protesters broke out into screaming matches in the streets, and I don’t think any of us felt okay until we were all locked inside of the car.

Sammi is the Lifestyle Editor at HerCampus.com, assisting with content strategy across sections. She's been a member of Her Campus since her Social Media Manager and Senior Editor days at Her Campus at Siena, where she graduated with a degree in Biology of all things. She moonlights as an EMT, and in her free time, she can be found playing post-apocalyptic video games, organizing her unreasonably large lipstick collection, learning "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" on her guitar, or planning her next trip to Broadway.