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Student describes Trump rally experience

I attended President Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday Feb. 11. My parents asked me to go with them, so I told them I would. I thought it might be an interesting experience. Also, seeing a president is seeing a president.

“I left feeling slightly weirded out. The crowd outside the coliseum felt on edge and mob-like.”

I’m a student at NMSU, so I left for the rally on Monday afternoon following my morning class and a few scheduled hours at work. I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and drove down to El Paso with iced coffee next to me in the car. I’m almost certain I would’ve fallen asleep without it. It was super windy out, and from the Loop I could see dust clouding up in the desert.

Once I reached my parent’s home, we clambered into the family car and rushed to the El Paso County Coliseum, swerving our way through traffic and eventually parking on a street only a block or two away from the Coliseum. I carried a plastic water bottle in my pocket and “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff in my arms as we briskly made our way to the venue.

President Trump speaks in El Paso, Texas, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum. Trump was there to promote his border wall agenda. (Photo by Denisse Najera)

A line of rally-goers had formed outside a fence surrounding the Coliseum. Vendors stood in front of stalls or walked around with carts selling shirts and buttons and hats and flags promoting Trump’s presidency and 2020 re-election run.

The crowd was dotted with red hats, and people of all ages were waiting to get into the next line, inside the fence, with their tickets. Pump-up music played outside, meaning we heard lots of Queen and Village People.

A few protestors wandered near the fence. Some were holding signs. I only remember seeing three or four protestors while waiting outside the Coliseum fence.

At one point, a vocal Trump supporter was walking alongside a Trump protestor. They shouted their slogans at each other.

We waited in line outside the venue for more than three hours. Only a few buildings away, Beto’s rally was happening. The atmosphere around the coliseum felt tense, perhaps because of the scale and importance of the event, and perhaps because of how intensely people seemed to want to be a part of it.

After several hours of waiting, the lines totally collapsed. People starting shoving and climbing over the fence in order to make their way to the front of the crowd. Other people yelled at those who were visibly pushing and shoving their way toward the Coliseum entrances.

We waited in this absolute mess for an hour. People in the front began yelling that the Coliseum was full. Eventually, authorities with megaphones yelled the same thing. My parents and I didn’t make it inside, so we waited outside for awhile. Many people were leaving, but there were still people walking through the gates determined to be a part of the event.

We watched the outside video screen as Donald Trump Jr. began speaking, but we left, exhausted, before the president took the stage. The sun was gone, it was windy and it was getting cold.

I left feeling slightly weirded out. The crowd outside the coliseum felt on edge and mob-like. People seemed ready to lash out at anyone who challenged them, but they were also smiling and laughing with each other, visibly happy and content to be surrounded by other people who felt the same way they did.

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