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Trump rally in Dallas begins with passion, ends with violence

Trump rally in Dallas begins with passion, ends with violence

Protestors march outside of Alamo Draft House during a Trump rally Thursday in Dallas, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Contributor

Trump rally in Dallas begins with passion, ends with violence
June 18
20:07 2016

Matthew Reyna | Staff Writer

@bucko_rodgers

Exactly one year after he announced his candidacy for president, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rally at Gilly’s in downtown Dallas on Thursday ran the gamut, from passion of his dedicated supporters to numerous interruptions by protesters.

Numerous prominent local politicians spoke as surrogates before Trump was introduced to a raucous standing-room-only crowd. Gilly’s had reached full capacity well before the event officially began at 6:30 p.m.

Among Trump’s introductory surrogates were First Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress, conservative talk show host Mark Davis, Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen, Republican Texas Railroad Commissioner Candidate Wayne Christian and an unscheduled appearance from U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess.

Some of his surrogates could not stop singing his praises, while others were more measured in their praise. Nguyen spoke for over 10 minutes and spoke passionately about Trump, saying his friends have accused him of racism for supporting him.

“If being called racist is the price I have to pay to save our country, then I’ll pay it,” Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, said.

Congressman Burgess, of Texas’s 26th District, spoke for about 30 seconds and joked that he was not used to Trump rallies because he originally endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

“I’m not just endorsing the Republican nominee,” Burgess said. “I’m endorsing Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America.”

Trump was vague on policy and criticized numerous public officials, including John Kerry, who he ridiculed by saying he’ll never participate in a bicycle race, Mitt Romney, who Trump said gave up against President Barack Obama and Wolf Blitzer.

But Trump did offer veiled praise to his latest celebrity endorser, Don King.

“Don King likes Trump – big Don King,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I want him to be my manger, but he’s a great guy.”

Protestors gathered Thursday outside Gilley's South Side Ballroom as Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, spoke policy and ridiculed public officials. Prior to his speech, Trump a fundraiser at The Highland Hotel. Hannah Ridings | Contributing Photographer

Protesters gathered Thursday outside Gilley’s South Side Ballroom as Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, spoke policy and ridiculed public officials. Prior to his speech, Trump a fundraiser at The Highland Hotel. Hannah Ridings | Contributing Photographer

Trump also said former Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight encouraged him to run for president before anyone else.

When Trump did talk policy, much of it included taking credit for his ideas that he said were unfairly panned by experts.

“I said NATO was obsolete, and I took so much heat,” Trump said. “Now they whisper that maybe Trump was right.”

The speech was continuously interrupted by protesters. Ten protesters were removed from the rally, even though Trump encouraged protesters to come forward.

“Don’t we have any protesters? Please raise your hand,” Trump said. “Oh, good, there’s a protester.”

Trump was patient with protesters at first, encouraging supporters to be gentle in a sarcastic voice. He said a Trump rally “is the safest place there is.”

As the protests continued though, Trump’s patience wore thin.

“Send him home to Mommy,” Trump said. “I could have him arrested, but I don’t want to ruin his life.”

The last twenty minutes of his speech lacked the punchlines and sizzle of most Trump speeches. Early applause lines transitioned into agreeable murmurs as the event progressed.

The crowd quieted as Trump lashed out against the media for claiming he suggested South Korea and Japan should be armed with nuclear weapons, amongst other things, before he exited to a rowdy standing ovation.

After the event, protesters and supporters on Lamar Street outside of the venue became confrontational and violent. Danny Fulgencio, a photographer, was hit in the face by a stone, creating a gash and a downpour of blood.

Trump supporters walk away from protestors Thursday as Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaks inside Gilley's South Side Ball Room. Hannah Ridings | Contributor

Trump supporters walk away from protesters Thursday as Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaks inside Gilley’s South Side Ball Room. Hannah Ridings | Contributor

Hundreds of Dallas police officers were on sight and some of them carried riot gear. Numerous shouting matches and brief altercations were broken up by officers, who stood between mobs of protesters and supporters.

Dozens of protesters and supporters faced each other down and yelled back and forth. The protesters chanted “Shame, Shame, Shame,” while the Trump supporters chanted back “Build the Wall” and “U-S-A.”

“I protested against Trump when he came to Fort Worth in February and I’m back,” 24-year old protester Carlos Martinez said. “If he’s here, I’m going to be out here too, resisting and protesting.”

Trump, for his part, said he was enjoying his time in Dallas and was not bothered by the protesters.

“If this whole thing doesn’t work out of me,” Trump said, “I’m gonna move to the South.”

Protesters march outside of Alamo Draft House near Gilly’s South Side Ballroom as Domingo Garcia leads them during a Trump rally Thursday in Dallas, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Contributing Photographer

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