Chants of “build the wall” were heard from afternoon until evening as presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump held a rally at the Sacramento International Jet Center on Wednesday.
Thousands of supporters gathered inside a crowded airplane hangar during the public event, while scattered protests took place outside.
Arriving on his airplane earlier than expected—to the delight of the crowd assembled in the sweltering heat—Trump repeated the main talking points of his campaign: his proposed border wall, “crooked Hillary” and “America first.”
“That wall is gonna get built, and that wall is going to be powerful,” Trump said to loud cheers.
The largest reaction from the crowd came as Trump continued his criticisms of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, stating that she “should not be allowed to run. It’s a disgrace.”
Trump also took aim at President Obama, warning that if Obama became involved in the election, Trump would be “allowed to hit him, just like I hit Bill Clinton.”
While Trump claimed 11,000 were in attendance, airport officials estimated the attendance to be closer to 2,500.
Rows of booths were set up outside the hangar, selling both pro-Trump and anti-Hillary merchandise. Attendees posed for pictures alongside a large inflatable red hat bearing Trump’s campaign slogan, “make America great again.”
Trump supporter Cole Bartiromo was the first in line to hear Trump speak at Wednesday’s rally. Bartiromo brought along a sign composed of clippings of articles from various media outlets that featured coverage of him being attacked by protesters while leaving a Trump event in Costa Mesa.
Outside the event, Chico State University lecturer Kevin Shephard kicked off the anti-Trump demonstrations by blasting a looped recording of himself using derogatory language to refer to Trump supporters on his megaphone.
“Trump’s not the problem,” Shephard said of his demonstration. “It’s all the people that believe all the [things] that he’s saying, that’s the problem.”
Shephard later clashed briefly with Trump supporter Chad Towe, who emptied the contents of his water bottle onto Shephard before police intervened.
Another protestor, Faygo Clark, 35 said that he came to the rally because he’s opposed to Donald Trump’s candidacy for president.
“[Trump] has spurred so much hate within our nation and caused so much more division,” Clark said. “If we get him as a president, I fear for the safety of the people of this nation.”
While demonstrations became confrontational at times, a heavy police presence at the event maintained relative peace.
Sacramento State College Democrats President Tim Sullivan was also in attendance to protest the rally and said that protesting is “part of the democratic process.”
“[Trump’s supporters] have ideas, I have ideas, let’s go ahead and exchange those and see which ones hold out,” Sullivan said. “If you don’t confront people you disagree with, you’re never going to bring anyone over to your way of thinking.”
Sullivan concluded with a message for Sac State students that urged involvement in the political process.
“If you are dissatisfied with American politics at the federal level, go look, seek out local elections to get involved with,” Sullivan said. “There’s so much more going on this election cycle than just the presidency. Get up, get out and get involved.”
Additional reporting by Joseph Daniels.
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