While students protested outside, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump held a rally at West Chester University’s Hollinger Field House at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 25.
Trump spoke on a variety of topics, including his proposed border wall, illegal immigration, drugs coming in from Mexico, Obamacare, the veterans, education and his opponents in the Republican primary.
Describing the success of his campaign, Trump said, “There’s a movement going on.”
He spoke about the massive success of his campaign, referencing crooked polls that he beat and the 17 Republicans who were originally running for president. Amidst a cheering crowd, Trump spoke of his plan for jobs.“We’re not going to let foreign countries steal our companies,” said Trump. He cited that Pa. has lost more than 35 percent of its manufacturing jobs since 2001.
Trump also said he would increase jobs. He said, “You leave us, you fire all of our people, you think you’re going to go to Mexico and sell [your products] back. Well, there will be consequences.”
Speaking on debt and trade relations, he said, “China is sucking the life out of us. I don’t blame China; I do business with China. China is great. I blame our politicians!”
Another major issue in the Trump campaign focuses on illegal immigration. Trump said, “[Politicians are] bringing in people from Syria. We don’t know them.” His plan involves having the Gulf states pay for a safe zone in Syria.
Trump also referenced the tragic deaths of several people who had been raped and killed by illegal immigrants in the last several months, as an example of the need for stricter boarder control. Trump spoke of drugs pouring in over the southern borders as well.
Referring to our 19 trillion dollars in debt, Trump said it was due to “bad trade deals.” He, on the other hand, said, “I’m self-funding my own campaign. It’s a lot of money, and I’ve spent less than anybody else essentially, and I’m in first place by a lot.”
“We’re last on the list in education, but first on the list for cost per pupil,” Trump said about education reform. He also said he would get rid of Common Core.
As president, Trump said he would also increase funding for our military. “We going to un-deplete our depleted military. No one’s going to mess with us, and we’re never going to have to use it. Other than [when we] knock out ISIS.” This was met with roaring cheers from the crowd.
Other than policy issues, Trump spoke about his opponents in the presidential race. He referred to Ted Cruz as “lying Ted” and John Kasich as “1 in 42 Kasich,” referencing Kasich’s losses. He referred to them joining forces as a “collusion.”
Trump said about Kasich, “Did you ever see a man eat like this” while he mimicked Kasich. “[The food] is falling out of his mouth. That’s not presidential.” Later, he again referenced this, saying, Kasich is a “stubborn guy who eats like a slob and shouldn’t have press conferences while he’s shoving [food] down his throat.”
When speaking on the “rigged” political system, Trump said, “It’s almost as crooked at Hillary Clinton.” The crowd cheered in approval. He said that Bernie Sanders has no chance of winning against her, unless she’s indicted for her email scandal and foundation scandal.
Trump spoke kindly of Bernie and referenced the media, saying Bernie couldn’t win, in spite of his many wins throughout the country. Then, however, Trump said, “I don’t want to run against a communist.”
He said that the only way Cruz or Kasich have a chance is a second ballot, but his campaign would win on the first. While speaking on his opponents, someone in the crowd shouted, “Talk about the real issues.” The crowd jeered as the person was thrown out, and Trump said, “Go home to your mother.”
Trump encouraged the crowd to vote in the primary tomorrow. He said that in many years, they will consider it the greatest vote they have ever cast. “You are going to be proud of your president, but I don’t care about that. You are going to be proud of your country!” he said.
Overall, thousands gathered to see the candidate speak. Trump said there were “nine thousand people outside” who couldn’t get into the rally.
Doors for the rally opened at 1 p.m. and the line quickly went around the block. Before Trump came to stage, gatherers chanted things like “Build that wall,” “We want Trump,” and “USA” while music played.
When the rally was initially announced on campus, multiple protest Facebook pages cropped up, including: “Dump Trump,” “A Peaceful Protest Against an Unpleasant Man,” and more.
Interim President, Chris Fiorentino, explained that Public Safety would be present for the event to ensure everyone’s safety.
In response to protests from students about the university allowing Trump to hold the rally, Fiorentino also said, “The bigger and perhaps more complex concern relates to the emotional safety of our students, faculty and staff. With regard to that concern, a university should not be an intellectual safe space. Rather, students should be exposed to diverse ideas and prepared with the skills to assess their merits.”
On the day of the rally, hundreds of students also gathered on Church Street to protest. Students held signs like, “No more walls” and yelled things like, “Trump hates women.” Students played instruments and chanted.
Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.