Trump People: A Rise Reporter Spends The Day At An Alabama Donald Rally With His Liberal Girlfriend And Mexican Friend

“I don’t know, man. He’s just gonna talk about all of the issues and what he’s going to do to solve them. That’s what fucking presidents do.”

The back of Jacob’s crisp, white T-shirt read, “I think, therefore I TRUMP.”

His buddy’s shirt skipped the metaphysics, opting instead for the pithy “ISIS SUCKS.” They had caught me trying to photograph their clothing from a short distance, leaving me with no choice but to shove my thumbs through my belt loops and sidle up. We were just over an hour away from Donald Trump’s appearance at his Birmingham, AL campaign rally, and I figured this man’s guess about the specifics of Trump’s inevitable diatribe was as good as anybody else’s.

Trump would definitely have something to say about ISIS, and the need to blow them to smithereens sooner rather than later.

“They’re easier to find than you think,” Jacob explained, whipping out his iPhone to illustrate. “If I was a person of interest, they could look up exactly where I am on this thing and drag me out of here before you and me even finished talking. Did you tell your phone number to Facebook?”

“Not even pictures,” I said. “I don’t want ‘em knowing anything about me.”

“You got that right.” The friend offered an affirmative nod, too.

Cristian made it past security without any trouble, having shaved his beard down to tight stubble the night before in an effort to pass as Puerto Rican.

At last, we had found Trump People. I’d heard tell of them since late summer, and as summer slipped into fall, debate polls and survey results on the TV told the story of their continuing growth, but I had yet to find anyone who would admit to me in the flesh that they actually supported Trump’s candidacy for President of the United States of America. Or even that they liked him, for that matter.

Maureen, my girlfriend, can’t stand the dude. She’s a staunch feminist and pinned a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker up in her office back in August, and so naturally I have spent the past several months of dinner conversations feigning solidarity with whichever flavor of ridiculous bombast Trump had unleashed that day, in the interest of seeing her get riled up.

Our friend Cristian is the son of Mexican immigrants, but he, too, relishes any opportunity to get Maureen’s goat. We ordered three tickets the day they were made available online.

We made it past the woman snatching tickets from hands as she barked at the line to keep moving. We made it past the security checkpoint on the second try, after I had been escorted by Trump’s Head Goon, who was unyielding but exceptionally polite, to and from our car to deposit my pocket knife.

Cristian made it past security without any trouble, having shaved his beard down to tight stubble the night before in an effort to pass as Puerto Rican.

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A man selling Trump related campaign clothes outside of the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex on Nov. 21, 2015. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News.

We made it through the long lines outside of the bathroom, located just to the left as we entered the convention hall. The woman who filed into the much-longer women’s line behind Maureen told her husband to wait for her by the pillar.

“I may be awhile, unless you want me to turn into a transgender and go in the men’s,” she warned. He assured her that he was content to wait.

Yes, these were the elusive Trump People for whom I had been searching. And for the next two hours, by virtue of association, I would be Trump People, too.

After parting ways with Jacob and Friend, Cristian and I spotted a choir group huddled in the far corner, the men clad in crimson ties, gray suit coats, and black pants, the women clad in shimmery red tops and black slacks. We picked two guys off from the herd, one white and one black, and introduced ourselves.

They had driven down from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, the night before and would be today’s opening act. They were noncommittal when I asked what they would be singing, so I asked them whether or not they actually liked Trump. They shifted uncomfortably and wrung their hands for at least 20 seconds until the white guy forced out, “I guess he seems alright.”

I heard the guy in the flame-print bowling shirt behind me say that he figured there were about 8 or 9 million in attendance. Seemed about right.

We rejoined the throng pressing against the fence stage left, just in time for a guy who looked like Wrath of Khan-era William Shatner whose name I don’t remember to introduce a former colonel and current pastor to the stage to lead our opening prayer.

After calling upon the help of the Lord in granting us a president who would put an end to the twin specters of ISIS and Planned Parenthood in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen, the Colonel stepped down and returned the mic to the faux Shatner.

“Alright, let’s continue these proceedings in the correct and patriotic way. I would like to direct you all to my rear.” The crowd tittered, and faux Shatner scrambled to recover. “And that beautiful, old flag.”

We dutifully directed our attention and recited the Pledge, and then Jason Perkins, a Dress Blues-clad Marine with a chest like Gaston, was ushered onto center stage.

“I gotta tell you… Isn’t this the best-looking devil you ever saw? And he has the best voice you’ll ever hear. Without further ado, let’s just let him do what he’s gonna do here today.” faux Shatner ceded the mic to Gaston with stars in his eyes. Gaston’s baritone soared, and the crowd went wild.

Donald Trump supporters listen to the candidate speak. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News.

Donald Trump supporters listen to the candidate speak. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News.

They cleared the stage, and the teeming hordes pressed closer around us. I heard the guy in the flame-print bowling shirt behind me say that he figured there were about 8 or 9 million in attendance. Seemed about right.

Like Noah’s Ark, the crowd had at least two of everything: white people, black people, Mexican people, country club types, scruffy hipsters in Levi’s 511s, and NASCAR clodhoppers, every one of them hopped up on democracy.

There was a multigenerational family of six directly in front of us, and four of them were each bearing a red or blue sweatshirt with each successive word of “Make America Great Again” embroidered in white on the chest. When faux Shatner had first stepped on stage a few minutes earlier, I had shouted, “It’s Trump!” in hopes of seeing some heads turn.

Read More: Batman of Birmingham- The Curious Story Of Willie J. Perry

Mrs. Again, the matriarch of the outfit, had turned her head back just enough to spit a terse, “No.” It was plain to see that she was onto us. We’d have to proceed cautiously.

The Lee University Campus Choir was up next, all plastered-on smiles and shimmying shoulders as they tore through a glee club-y patriotic medley and Pharrell’s “Happy.” My favorite part was their weird chorale interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, in which they layered on harmonies like a bunch of jingoistic, Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys.

LISTEN: Lee University Campus Choir sings the preamble to the Declaration of Independence at Trump rally

Two black women swapped lead on Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” and they both sang beautifully. A man and wife slow-danced on the outer edge of the fray. The throng, by now whipped into a blind, nostalgic frenzy, slathered them with uproarious applause.

A cross-eyed brute with slick-backed hair in a boxy Brooks Brothers suit prowled the fence line.

At exactly 10:32 AM, a guy in a brown suit and yellow tie who Trump later referred to as Mark shuffled up to the podium with a 20-ounce Dasani water bottle with a green cap, foggy like it had just been removed from the fridge.

He slid the water bottle into the shelf underneath the podium surface bottom-first, taking deliberate pains to make sure, with his outstretched thumb and pointer finger as ruler, that the cap end of the bottle was sticking out by just the right amount, which seemed from where I was standing to be about 3.22 inches.

Read More: How Discrimination Forces Transgender People Of Color Into Poverty And Prostitution In Alabama

Mark shuffled a few papers on the podium and adjusted the mic, then made another concerted effort to check that the water bottle was appropriately positioned before scurrying back off of the stage.

At exactly 10:59, Mark ran back up, grabbed the water bottle from the shelf, and stepped off to the side to stand with the cross-eyed brute.

Trump burst onto the convention floor at precisely 11:00, the tsunami of the mob’s hysterical glossolalia drowning the bent-note splendor of “Sweet Home Alabama.”

He bulled his way along the fence, a cross between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jesus Among the Lepers as he fist-bumped the outstretched knuckles of his frothy disciples. He ranted and raved for exactly one hour.

After a breather by the trashcan, Black Lives Matter guy yelled, “Fuck everybody here!” and exited the hall chanting “Fuck Donald Trump!” as the loiterers by the door jeered.

Early on, Trump suggested that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to read his 1987 book Trump: The Art of the Deal.

Without warning, the words “They can’t read!” were ripped from my larynx and thrust into the torrent, earning us the approving chuckle and renewed confidence of Mrs. Again and her daughter, Mrs. Make, in the process.

Spittle flashed in the stage lights, and tempers flared among the horde. A staggering woman with the complexion of a catcher’s mitt was ostracized for touching someone’s baby one too many times, but that proved to be just the undercard.

In the main event, a scrum formed around a Black Lives Matter supporter and dragged him to the ground. Police, Secret Service, Mark, and the Head Goon peeled the man off the ground and started directing him towards the exit, so I followed.

“Get him the hell out of here,” Trump ordered from the podium. As the man whirled around in a wild-eyed daze and staggered toward a trashcan, Trump People who had moments before applauded the Lee Choir soloists hurled cries of “Taze him!” and “All lives matter.”

A Black Lives Matter supporter, later identified as Mercution Southall was removed from the Trump rally. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News.

A Black Lives Matter supporter, later identified as Mercution Southall was removed from the Trump rally. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News.

A disgusted fraternity brother said, “Get the fuck out of here, man,” and Mark told him to shut up.

After a breather by the trashcan, Black Lives Matter guy yelled, “Fuck everybody here!” and exited the hall chanting “Fuck Donald Trump!” as the loiterers by the door jeered.

Maureen and Cristian told me afterward that Mrs. Again and Mrs. Make had extended their middle finger to Black Lives Matter guy as a parting gesture.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Black Lives Matter Removed From Trump Rally In Alabama

Trump concluded his remarks and dismissed us all into the sunshine.

On our walk to lunch Cristian said he was going to take a shower when we got back home.

Maureen said, “I’m just sad.”

Hungry, disgusted, and upset. Trump People.

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Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ Rise News. 

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About the Author
Jordan is a graduate student in geography and natural resources conservation at the University of Alabama, where he earned his undergraduate degree in accounting in 2015 and operates a weekly Americana radio broadcast for the school's student-run station.

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