Thousands of people packed into a basketball arena here on Monday evening to get a close-up look at the biggest story in American politics: billionaire businessman Donald Trump.
The crowd came carrying American flag shirts, signs saying such things as “The Silent Majority Stands with Trump,” and, of course, the Republican Party presidential primary front-runner’s signature hat, bearing his logo, “Make America Great Again.”
“I came because I’ve seen him in TV and I’ve been impressed, and I wanted to see him in person,” said Brian Wannan, 72, a retired businessman from Dallas who said he is in the process of becoming an American just to vote for Trump.
Inside the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Mavericks play, attendees bought beer and talked politics. “Rocket Man” played over the speakers. One man showed off a T-shirt saying “Hillary for Prison 2016” and got a spontaneous and loud ovation.
As Trump took the stage, he immediately sought to acknowledge the passionate following he has attracted. “The silent majority,” he said. “It’s back. And it’s not silent. Maybe we should call it the noisy, the wanting-to-win majority.”
Trump earned a long, loud ovation and chants of “U-S-A” for a very simple line: “We have to stop illegal immigration. Have to do it.”
He also did a bit of chest-thumping by saying offhand that if he was accepting donations, he would have gotten $200 million by now.
Outside, dozens of people protested, occasionally booing people who walked in. Brisa Mendoza, 21, of Dallas, said she opposed the event because Trump encouraged racism by saying earlier this summer that many of those coming to the United States from Mexico were rapists and other criminals.
It was Trump’s first public visit to the state since a ballyhooed trip to the border in July.
SOURCE: Brian M. Rosenthal