Despite positive message, Trump supporters and protesters clashed outside after event.
By Christina Elias and Bryan Anderson
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Republican businessman Donald Trump delivered an unusually positive message during his rally Wednesday night in Fayetteville. But as he expressed his gratitude to those in the armed forces and said he loved Hispanics, angst and divide grew during and after the event.
Amidst a plethora of protests, Trump devoted much of his time speaking about the love he receives from supporters and the gratitude he has for protesters.
“When I make speeches, there’s so much love in the room it’s easy,” Trump said.
As the event progressed, though, Crown Coliseum grew increasingly hostile. After the rally, animosity between protesters and supporters reached a crescendo when Hispanics and Caucasians fought about Trump’s stances on immigration.
Throughout the night, individual protesters interrupting Trump’s speech every few minutes were swiftly removed by local law enforcement.
Trump called one protester a spoiled kid and advised a couple others to go back home to their mothers.
“It’s okay, he’s a quiet one,” Trump said during one of the final outbreaks. “Who’s the protester? Get out of here — get out, get out. You know they all look like spoiled kids, too. They look like spoiled people. Are your parents supporting me? Your parents are probably here supporting me.”
Trump generally seemed focused on promoting a mostly positive message, in which he thanked his many protesters. He told them he loved them on multiple occasions. Trump also grabbed a pair of signs from supporters, signed them and returned them back.
One of the signs read “Veterans For Trump.” After returning the autographed sign back to a supporter, Trump thanked those in the armed forces for their service to their country.
“One of the things I love about this [state] is the military component,” Trump said.
Trump continued to profess his admiration for North Carolina as he summoned his son and his Wilmington-native daughter-in-law Lara Yunaska to the stage.
“We are so proud of this man,” Eric said during his brief on-stage appearance. “He is going to do amazing things for this country … He’s just the greatest. Thank you so much North Carolina.”
Trump had his supporters take a pledge during the rally to commit their votes on his behalf.
“State your name,” Trump said. “Do you pledge that on Tuesday you will go and we will make America great again and you will vote for Donald Trump?”
Thousands recited the pledge and roared in approval shortly thereafter.
At the end of the event, Trump offered a final rallying cry, explaining to the attendees the rally would hold historical significance if he were elected president.
“We’re going to make America great again,” he said. “You’re going to love your president. You are going to say to yourself that ‘That evening, when we stood together as a group, that was one of the most important nights of your life.’”
Steve Parson, a pastor who had introduced Trump, said Trump is the best candidate for minority voters because he can offer them economic solutions.
“Donald Trump in my opinion has everything we need to get back on track,” he said. “And, because I know him personally, I know he’s a good person.”
As an African American, Parson said he was appalled at the Black Lives Matter protesters at the rally.
“I feel embarrassed,” he said. “First of all, he’s not a racist. Anyone who knows Donald Trump will tell you he’s not a racist.”
Raleigh native Bobby Duke, 63, said he knew who he was voting for as soon as Trump announced his campaign.
“He’s saying what everyone’s thinking and what no one else has the nerve to say,” Duke said.