Commentary: My First Trump Rally

Despite what they may say on TV, we had tens of thousands of people out in the heat and rain supporting our president, while Joe ‘Biden His Time’ Biden can barely fill a high school gym, and Beto ‘O Rourke The Dork is too busy skateboarding and standing on a table in a dive bar, ranting about God knows what.

By Keith Rapp

My first real taste of what a Trump rally was all about was his re-election campaign rally in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, June 18th. It was crude, crass, and at times, heart warming (coincidentally, all words that could be used to describe Daddy himself). I had missed his previous rallies and speeches but I was determined to make it to this one, and what better rally for a first timer than his re-election announcement! I came sporting my infamous Twinks For Trump tank top, while my friend/bodyguard wore a crew neck with the phrase, “Make Memes Great Again”, both crudely drawn in sharpie. The Chick Fil-A we stopped at wasn’t amused by our clothing choice but I can deal with fast food workers hating me, and besides, I thought this was a Christian organization? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, Christianity has become so watered down and misconstrued, but we’ll discuss that another time.

Right as we exited the parking garage to the event, I could already see a trickle of red hats heading towards the train. Right as I saw that, I knew I found my people.

We were approached to sign a petition that would make ID a requirement to vote, which we promptly signed with little to no fuss. Maybe we should have done a teeny bit of research on the organization, because later on, I overheard a conversation regarding a certain Jew loather named George Soros. Apparently, every single person with a clipboard was hired by George to disrupt the rally, and that the petition was actually to get Donald Trump in jail. So if you’re seeing this, sorry Mr. President, a man with a neck beard tricked me! But then again, It’s very possible that was a total lie but I guess we’ll never know, at least until President Daddy is behind bars. I’m an American, after all and if I want to impeach my president for no reason, it’s my constitutional right! After walking through the streets a little bit, we followed a couple of Gays for Trump, parading around in their underwear and red hats, always a pretty sight on a Tuesday morning. I did notice, however, that the gays supporting Trump at the event seemed noticeably happier than the few lumpy, sad protesters that were there, more on that later. After wandering a bit, my friend and I began heading down the line, We did get the chance to stop and have a chat with Rob Smith of Turning Point USA, who complimented us on our shirts, asked if we had seen any homophobia since we’d been there, (spoiler alert, THERE WASN’T ANY), and thanked us for our support. We continued walking along side the line of people eagerly waiting to hear what our commander in chief had to say. As we walked, I felt like I was getting stared at more than I normally do. Now, this may have had something to do with the fact that I was wearing bright pink short shorts, a tank top proclaiming that effeminate gays supported Daddy in Chief, or my recently highlighted hair, but I feel it was blatant homophobia, too bad Rob Smith wasn’t there to see it! We continued down the line, watching people from all walks of life show their support. I noticed a particularly large minority: older women. Now, this shouldn’t come as a shock. After all, our President is a true leader, something lacking in todays climate, both politically and socially. These women came from a time when masculinity wasn’t considered something that required medication, and alpha tendencies weren’t a rare occurrence, like finding a sharks tooth, or a feminist with a BMI under 35 (I kid I kid, not really). There were no women fainting on the lawn during one of former president Barrack Obama’s limp wristed, ham fisted speech’s (love ya, Barry!) but lets get back on track.

We made our way to the back of the line which, lucky us, was situated right next to the housing projects over Orlando. We received the usual, “fuck Trump” and “y’all dumb as fuck” from Orlando’s finest locals, but I honestly would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t receive at least one death threat before the day was through. As the line was moving I saw down the road a glorious sight: a baby Trump balloon! Oh joy! I had seen the videos of Antifa getting pummeled by patriots, as well as the selfies Milo Yiannopoulos took from the Berkley warzone, so I knew I had to check it out. I made a joke as we were walking over that the reason the speech wasn’t starting until 8 was because he still needed time to memorize his speech. This was met with a few scoffs and groans from incoming supporters, and even a middle finger. To any boomers reading this, learn to take joke. You can’t claim that this generation is too sensitive when you’re unable to handle some gentle prodding at the most powerful man on earth, but I digress. This is where things get interesting, so buckle up!

We walked towards the balloon and saw from a distance that the police had already set up barricades to block any Trump supporters from crossing the road. We weren’t quite sure if we should continue forward when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a familiar sight. It was The Proud Boys! Dressed to the nines in their Fred Perry Polo shirts and MAGA hats, there were about 10 of them, along with a sharp dressed fellow sporting a Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong shirt. We ran up to them, probably sounding absolutely deranged from how much we were sweating. Perhaps the heat had gotten to us, or maybe I’m just that much of a patriot, probably a bit of both. After chatting for a bit, we were invited over to a pizzeria to rest with them. The fellow in the Roger Stone shirt handed me water and we stood outside while everyone ate. I found out his name was Jacob Engels, an Orlando based journalist that wrote for a few different publications. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I thought The Proud Boys were thugs that prey on college students and support fascism”. Now I never believed any of that to be true, but I never expected to be treated so well by a group describing themselves as “Western chauvinists”. I also took note that for a group labeled as white supremacist, there were probably just as many black and Hispanic members. These had to be the most self-loathing white nationalists I’d ever seen. I was even fortunate to be able to speak with Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the entire organization, who took over for Gavin McInnes when he was forced to step down due to legal issues. Although identity politics isn’t my cup of tea, I feel its important to note that the man Gavin chose to replace him as head of the “white supremacist” organization is a Cuban American man. The more you read about these guys or, if you were fortunate to talk in person with them, you’d realize just how lied about they truly are. It would take less than 10 seconds of talking to them to understand that they aren’t an evil group set out to destroy the lives of immigrants, they’re a glorified drinking club that requires you to be a patriot and a man. Politics is important to them, but it seemed that they had the most fun just chatting with their buddies over beers. But what came next was quite a turn,

The Proud Boys were going to the protest.

I asked if we were allowed to march with them and was met with a barrage of back slaps and shoves. They seemed elated that young guys were interested in their group, considering nearly everyone there was at least 30. As we marched, we sang ‘Na Na Na Goodbye’ by Steam, as well as chanting sea shanties at anyone on the street.(this isn’t a joke, that actually happened). But once we arrived at the protest, things began to get hostile. The police had set up barricades but the mob on both sides was huge. There were probably 60 Proud Boys and about 100 anti Trump protesters ranting about non-existent issues. One of the Proud Boys, who went by MAGA Titan, was on a live stream with Owen Shroyer from Info Wars and I even took the opportunity to grab a megaphone to ask the protesters why they hated gays, why they hated Jews, and why they hated my shirt. I didn’t get an answer but one girl nae naed at me and snapped her fingers so I think that’s a good sign? During the spat, Kaitlin Bennett, The Kent State Gun Girl, was recording her video, at which point I realized this had basically turned into a block party but with threats of violence instead of barbecue. Our side of the barricade was much happier, I may add. It was all smiles and cheers, while the protesters stood weary eyed, covered in body paint and beads. The Proud Boys were in great spirits, although I suspect a big reason for that may be because nearly all of them were drunk, but what can you expect from a drinking club? Frankly, if they weren’t all nearly piss drunk, I wouldn’t have been as impressed.

Once the crowd died down, we retreated to a bar up the street to watch our great Emperors speech. He delivered it in the same, monotone voice with the same deadpan expression like he always does, and I loved every minute of it. That’s when I saw him, a lone protester in a fuck Trump shirt standing across the street shouting at us. I actually was worried for a second. Would The Proud Boys attack him? There were no cops and nobody to save him if they decided to. A few of them went outside but no fists were thrown, just some shouting from across the street. But that’s when a crowd started to form. The protesters began advancing towards the bar but before they could get close, police sped over on bicycles and set up barricades with them (a hilarious sight if I may add) One man from our side actually walked out to try and quell the protesters. He went to shake the hand the man in the Fuck Trump shirt but before he could the man was sucker punched and promptly arrested, much to the joy of The Proud Boys, so much for the tolerant left. Jewish journalist and handcuff aficionado Laura Loomer was able to obtain the video and immediately published it for all to see. Once that happened, the crowd began to dissipate and we retreated inside to finish the speech, while the protesters went back to their dorms and halfway houses. I would say parents’ basement but let’s face it, none of them grew up with both parents, and besides, we live in Florida, no basements anyway!

Once the speech was finished, I talked with Jacob and Enrique for a while longer before we parted ways. This was probably longer than it needed to be but I felt that I needed to do this event, as well as the Proud Boys, justice because despite what has been said about them in the news, these were some of the most cordial and welcoming people I’ve had the chance to speak with in quite a long time. They’re also damn persistent, putting up with false labels of hate and racial bigotry. They refuse to take it lying down and won’t bow to the critics, the ultimate power move.  Nearly everything said about them has been a total lie and I’m still shocked that places like The Guardian and The Daily Beast can lie about these patriots with no repercussions. I checked the Orlando Snap Chat story that day and there were videos of us with the captions, “they’re screaming white power” and “they just threw rocks at our side”. None of this happened, yet people will continue to believe it due to what they read, online. It’s a vicious cycle but The Proud Boys seem unbothered by it, as long as they have beer and cigar, that is.

Despite what they may say on TV, we had tens of thousands of people out in the heat and rain supporting our president, while Joe ‘Biden His Time’ Biden can barely fill a high school gym, and Beto ‘O Rourke The Dork is too busy skateboarding and standing on a table in a dive bar, ranting about God knows what. The polls weren’t correct in 2016 and they won’t be correct in 2020. I urge any of you to attend a rally, there’s something quite magical about so many people together in one place for one purpose, and what better purpose than for our President? Don’t ever stop fighting, laughing, name-calling, shit posting, or button pushing. Authoritarians hate the sound of laughter, because when people laugh, they know its true. Don’t forget, we have a lot to laugh about. We’re funnier, smarter, and hotter, so what could be better? Don’t ever lose your humor, but most of all, never back down. And just remember,

4 MORE YEARS…

 

Keith Rapp is a Tampa Bay based journalist and provocateur. Mr. Rapp’s work focuses on stories and truths that other publications refuse to touch for fear of backlash.