Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally at Plattsburgh’s Crete Center Friday, April 15, to encourage citizens to vote in Tuesday’s New York primary election.
The Crete Center parking lot was crowded with cars and pickup trucks, some sporting “Trump 2016” paint and American flags draped across the back windows.
Approximately 3,000 people, a mixture of mostly Plattsburgh State students and Plattsburgh residents attended the rally, which lasted roughly 40 minutes. People packed into the Crete Center after passing through metal detectors, wearing shirts, hats and other accessories that read “Make America Great Again,” in support of Trump.
Prior to Trump making his on-stage entrance, attendees in the audience chanted “U.S.A.” and “Trump” repeatedly.
Trump started his speech, calling Plattsburgh a “great part of the world,” and then focused his speech on improving the local economy, not only for Plattsburgh, but New York state as well.
He said 3,000 fewer people are working in Plattsburgh since the year 2000 as overall U.S. industrial production and employment rates are also on a decline in recent years.
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“Believe me, folks. I know what I’m doing,” Trump said about creating a better business environment.
Shortly after, Trump asked the audience, “Who loves the idea of the wall?”
Most of the audience cheered in support of Trump’s plan to build a wall stretching across the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States.
Attendees chanted, “Build the wall!” as Trump explained his proposal.
Trump claimed in his speech that Mexico will pay for the wall, even if their president is firmly against it.
“The wall is going to be so beautiful, big and powerful,” he said in his speech.
PSUC human development and family relations junior and Trump supporter Jamie Emma said she is not against the building of the wall, but she said she does not know if Trump will actually have it built.
He also took time in his speech to applaud the U.S. Border Patrol, calling them “great people,” as the agency has never endorsed a political candidate until Trump.
PSUC sophomore criminal justice major Brian Surman said he supports candidate John Kasich, but he attended the rally to see Trump supporters up close. This was Surman’s first political rally.
“He is a good public speaker, but his plans won’t work,” Surman said.
Trump continued his speech by complementing New Yorkers. He said “New York values represent great things,” such as vibrance, honesty and straight talk. He also acknowledged firefighters and police officers who first responded to the World Trade Center September 11.
“We need New York values to make America great again,” Trump said.
PSUC criminal justice junior and Trump supporter Brent McCarthy wore a shirt to the rally that said “Trump that bitch,” on the front and “Hillary (Clinton) sucks, but not like Monica (Lewinsky).”
McCarthy said he supports “the wall” proposal in order to “keep illness out.” He also said he would be voting for Trump in the primary.
Plattsburgh resident Steve Tahy attended the rally with two large flags hanging off the back of his truck.
Tahy said America needs a president with business experience, like Trump, to help make better deals for America and to help improve the economy.
While Trump supporters chanted inside the Crete Center, protesters rallied outside the gates, holding signs wishing for “peace,” and “love.” Some even showed support for Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders.
Plattsburgh High School senior Elijah Brown was one of the protestors. Brown, however, was arrested for allegedly trespassing.
“They arrested me, technically, for trespassing because they said that Trump rented the property. It’s public property, but he rented it, so, technically, he has the right to tell anyone he wants to leave, but he didn’t tell me to leave, so that’s why I wouldn’t leave,” Brown said.
He also said he is not supportive of any particular presidential candidate, but he was exercising his right to a peaceful protest to support “peace and love and no hate.”
“I just want America to be decent again. My life is great, and I don’t hate or want to put anyone down. That’s really all I’m against. I’m against disrespect. That’s really all it comes down to,” Brown said. “No matter what your views, or what you do or choose to do, as long as you’re not hurting other people, I think you have a right to do that (protest).”
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