Mixed crowds of supporters and protestors fill the Elements Financial Blue Ribbon Pavilion April 20 at a presidential rally for Donald Trump in Indianapolis. Cell phones rise as Trump enters the field house to begin his speech. DN PHOTO TRENT SCROGGINS
Students attend Trump rally to support, protest candidate
Some Ball State students made the drive to Indianapolis for presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally — some to support him, some to protest against him.
Three members of Ball State Republicans left Muncie at 8:30 a.m. for the rally, which didn’t start until 3 p.m.
One member, junior construction management major Anthony Cook, said his attendance wasn’t just about representing Ball State, but was about a group of young people supporting Trump and his endeavors while also being a part of history.
See more photos from the rally here.
“I thought [the rally] was really good, it really resonated with me as an Indiana voter,” Cook said. “He spoke a lot about Governor Pence, Carrier [Corp.] and the things happening in our state, and that was really near and dear to me. I appreciated that.”
Trump called for several people who did not agree with him to “get out” and forced them to leave the rally. Police from multiple departments were in various areas of the pavilion, and a non-violent protest with police presence took place outside during the rally.
“When he came out and spoke it got a little heated. A lot of people were pretty defensive,” Cook said. “We have all been standing here since 9 or 10 o’clock this morning. ... We had no problems with the protesters inside. It was very peaceful, 100 percent. I felt safe the whole time.”
Freshman Hannah Aletheia, an actuarial science and mathematical economics major, drove to the rally to protest Trump and the ideas on which he founded his campaign. She said she was not necessarily protesting to send a message, but to show support for those in her life.
She came for the people she calls brothers, sisters or friends who Trump has targeted in the past — her friends and family who may be black, have Hispanic or Middle Eastern heritage, be a member of the LGBT community, be living in poverty or even just those who may be a woman in general.
“I’m here because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if the Trump campaign came through Indiana with the xenophobia, the racism, the Islamophobia, the fear-mongering and didn’t face any kind of resistance,” she said. “Not here. Not in my state. Not against me and my brothers and sisters.”
Matt Wannemuehler, a sophomore computer technology major, called the Republican party this election year a crazy mess. He does not plan to vote, but said that if he does, his vote will go to democratic candidates Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
“This [rally] is probably one of my first steps into getting into a political scene. I’m not very much into politics but I would like to get into [politics] especially because it plays a big role in our society,” he said. “Considering that Trump actually came to Indiana, I’d like to at least see what he has to say for himself. ... I don’t think he is the perfect candidate for the presidency.”
However, Evan Thorstad, a sophomore criminal justice major, said it is important to see what Trump has to offer and what he really wants to do instead of following all the beliefs and stigmas that surround his campaign.
“I just thinks it’s really important that us college students come out and do something,” Thorstad said. “I know there was a lot of people who were talking about rioting this event, but not a lot of college students actually get up and do things like this and see what [the candidate] wants to do.”
Teresa Wilkerson of Hartford City, Ind., attended the rally to support Trump because she agrees with everything he says. Despite having nerve issues and being advised by her doctor to not attend, she said she didn’t care and came anyway because showing her support was so important to her.
“I’m tired of the politics and I’m ready to make America great again,” Wilkerson said. “And I believe and know that he can do it, and I’m just so excited that this [rally] is going on. He’s fired up so many people to come out and be a part of this.”