Thousands Gather For Donald Trump Rally in Greensboro

Jun 15, 2016

Thousands of people gathered at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Tuesday night to hear a speech from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Some people, including BJ Green, dedicated the entire day to the event. Green and his nine-year-old son, Jackson, arrived at noon from a small town in Virginia.

The younger Green was decked out in Trump paraphernalia, including a t-shirt, hat and pin. He’s unusually into politics for such a young age, and said his favorite TV channels are Fox News and Fox Business. He said he had already seen Trump give speeches in Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia before Tuesday’s rally in Greensboro.

"I just like seeing Trump because I support him," Jackson Green said while waiting in line to enter the rally.  "Our borders need to be secured because they’re letting drugs and rapists into our country, and we need to keep that out."

Friends Sheryl VanDine, 46, of Greensboro; Natalie Harris, 45, of Climax; and Shelia Thomas, 49, of Julian, wait to enter the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center for a Donald Trump rally on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

"This terrorism is terrible, and Trump is going to beat that terrorism, so I come just to like seeing him," he added.

Inside the arena, the featured speaker began his speech promptly at 7 p.m.

"Ladies and Gentlemen! Please welcome the next President of the United States, Mr. Donald J. Trump!" said the announcer.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
Credit Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Almost as soon as he stepped on stage, Trump addressed the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. that left 49 people dead on Sunday. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11. Authorities identified the suspect as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents are from Afghanistan.

"We want to live in a country where gay and lesbian Americans and all Americans are safe from radical Islam," Trump told the crowd.

Donald Trump supporters wait for a rally to begin at the Greensboro Coliseum on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Trump focused the beginning of his speed on the ethnicity and religion of the gunman and repeated allegations that President Barack Obama is angrier at him than he is at the Orlando nightclub gunman.

Earlier in the day, Obama said that Trump's call for banning Muslims from entering the country and for increased domestic surveillance doesn't reflect democratic ideals and endangers national security.

Supporters cheer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
Credit Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

"The killer’s parents immigrated from Afghanistan," Trump said.

The shooter, like Donald Trump, was born in Queens. But Trump, as he has done before, suggests closing the border to Muslim immigrants.

"Once again, we’ve seen that political correctness is deadly. They don’t want to talk about the problem," Trump said.

Donald Trump supporters wait for a rally to begin at the Greensboro Coliseum on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Trump later turned his speech to a country he often focuses on: Mexico.

"We want to get our country back," he said. "And we want people coming into our country, but they have to come in legally. They have to come in legally."
 
To which the roaring crowd replied: "Build that wall."

A Donald Trump supporter shows off a t-shirt while waiting outside the Greensboro Coliseum before a rally on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Trump responded: “We’re going to build that wall. Don’t even think about it. And who’s going to pay for that wall?”

The crows responded: "Mexico!"

Trump said: "100 percent. Okay?"

Anti-Trump protestors gather outside the Greensboro Coliseum on June 14, 2016 after Trump's rally.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Outside the coliseum complex, protesters gathered to rally against the presumptive Republican nominee. They carried Latin American and pride flags and marched around the complex as Trump supporters left the rally.

Lexington resident Perla Mendez wore a Mexican flag over her shoulders and carried a poster that read:  "Build bridges not walls, dump Trump."

Anti-Trump protestors hold sign outside the Greensboro Coliseum on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Mendez, was also born in New York City, and said she’s protesting because of one comment in particular.

"That Mexicans are rapists or criminals, and it’s not true," she said. "Just because one person commits a crime, that means all of us are the same? That’s not right."

Fervent political followers will have another opportunity to see a presumptive presidential nominee in North Carolina when Hillary Clinton visits Raleigh next Tuesday.

More photos of the Greensboro rally:

Donald Trump supporters wait outside the Greensboro Coliseum before a rally on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Trish Winsett, of Greensboro, buys a few Donald Trump pins outside of the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center before a Donald Trump rally on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC
Donald Trump supporters wait to hear from the presumptive Republican nominee inside the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

An anti-Trump protestor holds a sign outside the Greensboro Coliseum on June 14, 2016.
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC