What It's Really Like to Attend a Donald Trump Rally

Photo by Erica Haas Thousands flooded the Oncenter Saturday morning to see the infamous Donald J. Trump speak—or rather shout—in Syracuse, myself included. And, no, I didn’t go to protest.

But don’t confuse a lack of protest as a sign of support. I’ve also seen Hillary and Kasich. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to Bernie. And Cruz just doesn't want to come to New York (although I’m not exactly broken up about that one). So I figured why the hell not.

Hundreds lined up outside, starting at 4 a.m. (five hours before doors even opened), to secure their spot at the front of the stage. I, on the other hand, was still sound asleep in my bed. At 9 a.m. when doors opened, I was on my way to breakfast (because who can tolerate a Trump rally on an empty stomach). And at 10 a.m. I practically strolled right in, landing a spot in the middle of the ever-growing crowd.

For the next two and a half hours (Trump was over twenty minutes late), I stood among the sea of red “Make America Great Again” hats, and “the silent majority stands with Trump” signs. I had the pleasure of standing behind a man whose shirt read “Trump that Bitch” on the back. The front: “Hillary sucks but not like Monica.” As I surveyed the crowd, I also saw a shirt that said “Don’t register your guns.” That one was disturbing.

Less than an hour in, a man came over the speaker advising the crowd on how to handle a protestor if one was spotted: raise your sign and start shouting Trump at the person until the police are able to physically remove them (kind of like when you were a child and you started shouting LA LA LA LA LA at someone if they were saying something you didn't want to hear). The announcer also made it clear that Trump is still a huge supporter of the First Amendment and free speech. I’m sure I don’t need to point out the irony of that statement.

To help make the time pass, music played overhead, ranging from opera to “R-O-C-K in the USA.” Every so often cheers would break out. You had the standard “U.S.A” and “Trump” chants, and of course “build that wall.” By the time Trump arrived (again, over twenty minutes late), the crowd was pretty riled up. I just really wanted to sit down.

In typical Trump fashion, he walked out to “Y’all ready for this,” and was introduced as “the next President of the United States” (as all candidates are). Once behind his podium, he gave his routine speech about “lyin’ Ted Cruz.” He hit all of his buzz words like China, Mexico, and corruption. He interrupted himself to kick people out. And of course he made sure to tell everyone that he is not a politician. (I think he needs to revisit the definition of a politician.)

But my personal favorite moment was when he called himself a “unifier.”

“I’m a unifier," he said. "I’m somebody who gets along with people. All people.” Trump seems to be confused... again.

By the time the rally ended, I was a bit disappointed. No one was punched. Only a dozen or so protestors were thrown out. Nothing particularly inflammatory was said (well, nothing worse than normal). It lacked the chaos his events are characterized by. But hey, at least I got to see the next president of the United States. Just kidding (I hope).