Photo by Sarah Grace Taylor / Editor-in-Chief
Thousands of people with diverse ideologies, backgrounds and opinions gathered in Tennessee on Wednesday inside the Nashville Municipal Auditorium to support and protest a rally for the 45th president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.
Before the speech: Supporters and protestors
With a line that snaked its way through multiple blocks of Music City, the hours before Trump’s speech, which was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., were filled with a mixture of optimism and unrest.
A man carrying a sign labeled, “TrumpCare: The Final Solution” with swastikas surrounding the phrase was speaking to supporters in the line and explaining his disdain for Trump’s new healthcare plan.
“We are just trying to present the other opinion…I believe TrumpCare is the republican’s ‘final solution’ for poor people. I think now the oligarchs want the poor and the old to die as quickly as possible to save money for the insurance companies…That is class genocide, and it’s starting to be practiced right now,” Michael Zen, 64, said.
While several protestors such as Zen were touting signs to oppose the president, some were using signs in defense of Trump.
Jordan Holland, 25, Paris, Tennessee, was proudly waving a sign that read, “You lost. So, stop your whiny-ass crying, snowflakes.”
“You got a lot of people who don’t like Trump, and they are out here yelling and hollering. And most of the people that say they don’t like him, don’t even know why they don’t like him … We should all get along. We should be one nation under God. I think (Trump) is bringing us together. A lot of people don’t give him a chance, though,” Holland said.
10-year-old Jaydan Legg from Pleasant View, Tennessee, was also waiting in line in the hope of seeing the president.
“I’m a big Trump supporter. I support him because he’s an all-American and he’s not a Democrat, and that’s pretty much it,” Legg said.
Outside of the main entrance of the municipal building, protestors waving signs and chanting phrases such as “This is what democracy looks like” and “No KKK, no fascist USA” were declaring their opposition to Trump.
“We’ve got a wide variety of issues that we are covering today … We don’t want a wall. We don’t want a Muslim ban. We want America to be America,” Amy Roberts, 42, Maryville, Tennessee, said.
While many were joining debates and protests regarding Trump, one man in the line was simply searching for some easy cash.
Harrison Jennings, 21, New York, New York, held a sign that stated, “Make my Venmo Great Again.” Venmo is a mobile payment service which allows users to transfer money to anyone with the service.
Jennings stated that a friend of his held a similar sign during the 2016 election night, and he received over $4,000 in donations to his Venmo.
“You know, I just got back from spring break. I thought I’d come back here, a little bit broke. I thought I’d bring the sign and support our nation,” Jennings said.
The speakers prior to the POTUS
Directly before Trump arrived in the Municipal Auditorium, a number of speakers voiced their support and rallied the crowd.
One of the speakers was State Sen. Mae Beavers, a Republican from Mt. Juliet. The senator was recently in the national spotlight for sponsoring a new “bathroom bill” with the purpose of barring those who identify as a different gender from what appears on their birth certificate from using the bathroom of their choice.
Beavers said that it was an easy decision for her to support Trump “early on” in the election year. Because of this position, Beavers stated that she was now on the “kill list” with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, etc.
“To me, it was a chance to take back our country after eight years of disaster,” she said.
Citing her strong disagreements with Barack Obama’s presidency, Beavers mentioned that Trump was, in her opinion, the only candidate who was focused on the “problem” regarding immigration.
She said that through all the resistance to his campaign, she knew Trump would win in the end.
“I think God did answer our prayers for a strong leader,” she said.
Near the end of the speech, Beavers recounted a story about her grandson, Brandon. She described one of Brandon’s class assignments, in which he had to write a phrase in Latin. Beavers explained that, while most of the students wrote phrases about their life or their family, Brandon proudly wrote, “Build that wall.”
One of the other politicians that spoke prior to the arrival of the president was Scott Desjarlais, the U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 4th congressional district.
Rep. Desjarlais focused on the campaign promises that Trump spoke about for months on the trail.
“How refreshing is it to have a president who is doing what he campaigned on,” Desjarlais said.
The representative listed some of the promises such as repealing “Obamacare” and other “long-reaching” policies put in place by Obama, creating a safer boarder and building the wall.
“Donald Trump is ready to quit leading from behind like Obama did,” Desjarlais declared.
He also stated that Trump’s new healthcare plan will be effective because the administration will “take their time” in the creation and implication of the program.
“Today has a lot to do with healthcare … We should have repealed “Obamacare” on day one,” Desjarlais said.
One of the last speakers to explain their excitement and support for Trump before his speech was his daughter-in-law, Laura Trump.
She expressed her amazement at the amount that Trump has accomplished in less than two months in office. After this sentiment, she echoed Beavers in saying that Trump had an uphill battle when campaigning.
Laura Trump stated that the media were the main people attempting to stop the president during his campaign, and they said he would not have any chance of securing the presidency.
“I think we all remember how the media was during the campaign. They were pretty bad,” she said.
After the President of the United States of America Seal was placed on the podium, Trump entered the auditorium, and the crowd began to cheer wildly. Once the audience settled, Trump commenced the speech by stating that he was “thrilled to be in Nashville” and was honored to visit the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, prior to the rally.
Trump announced that Andrew Jackson realized that “real leadership means putting America first.”
Trump’s speech included much of the unpredictable rhetoric centered on immigration that was infamous during the campaign.
After a rigorous chant of the phrase “Build that wall” from the audience, Trump stated, “Don’t even think about it. We will build the wall.”
Trump continued to explain that illegal immigration is the major cause behind illegal drugs entering the United States.
“The drugs are pouring into our country, folks. They are poisoning our youth and plenty of others, and we are going to stop them,” Trump said.
Trump then stated that the United States has seen an unprecedented 40 percent reduction in illegal immigration on the Mexican border in the time that he has been in office.
“And now people are saying, ‘We’re not going to go there anymore because we can’t get in,’” Trump said.
Following this statement, Trump said that he met with many Americans whose families were “viciously and violently killed” by illegal immigrants. He announced that these families were murdered due to the government’s unwillingness to enforce the “already existing laws” in the country.
“These American victims were ignored by the media. They were ignored by Washington. But they were not ignored by me, and they were not ignored by you,” Trump said.
Mentioning multiple infamous terrorist attacks across the United States, Trump declared that he issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from certain countries such as from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Trump, then, stated that he had some “bad news” for the supporters in the audience.
Derrick Watson, a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, blocked the newly revised executive order, after Federal Judge James Robart blocked the first ban around a month earlier.
“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge, that should’ve never been blocked to start with,” Trump said.
“This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” he said.
Trump’s new health care plan has been met with controversy since its introduction on March 5. Despite the mixed response, Trump has been proudly touting the plan, and this was reflected in the speech he gave in Nashville. Trump focused most of the health care conversation on Obamacare’s perceived shortcomings.
“If we leave Obamacare in place, millions and millions of people will be forced off their plans, and your senators just told me that, in your state, you’re down to practically no insurance,” Trump said.
Trump stated that the insurers are fleeing all over the country due to Obamacare’s “catastrophic” effects.
“Premiums will continue to soar … It will drain our budgets and destroy our jobs. Remember all of the broken promises,” Trump said.
Similarly to his mention of immigration victims, Trump stated that he met with a number of “victims” of Obamacare.
Trump declared that the “fatal flaw” in Obama’s health care system was the government “forcing people to buy a government approved property.”
Putting America first
One of the larger points in Trump’s speech was his promise to restore American infrastructure and to focus concerns on placing the American people first.
“We believe in two simple rules: Buy American and hire American,” Trump said.
Trump stated that he would defend American companies above all others.
“And if America does what it says, and if your president does what I’ve been telling you, there is no one in the world who can even come close to us,” Trump said.
The president attacked both NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stating that Tennessee had lost one-third of its jobs since the introduction of NAFTA.
Trump announced that there would be “consequences” for companies who will be leaving the country and shipping goods back into America, while not being specific as to what the consequences would be and how they would be enforced.
During his speech in Nashville, Trump incited numerous booing sessions from his supporters toward the media in attendance. During the rally, he referred to members of the media as “among the most dishonest people in the world.”
When Trump was discussing “Obamacare,” the audience booed, which was transformed into another opportunity for the president to target the media outlets covering the event.
“By the way, watch what happens. Now, you just booed “Obamacare.” (The media) will say Trump just got booed. Tonight, I’ll go home. I’ll turn on that television. My wife will say, ‘Darling, it’s too bad you got booed.’ I’ll say, ‘I didn’t get booed.’… A couple of them will do it. I almost guarantee it,” Trump said.
Trump also referred to some of the media outlets who thought he may not follow through on the border wall as “fake news,” while the crowd turned to, once again, boo the media representatives in the auditorium.
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