By: Natalie Fazio, Erica Guevara, Serapio Marquez, Danielle Ojeda, Santiago Reyes and Gabriel Torres
With their morning starting around eight, OLLU Mass Communication students Jeremy Falkner and Santiago Reyes waited in line for hours to enter President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again Rally” held in El Paso, Texas. The event was hosted Feb. 11 at the El Paso County Coliseum.
The Process of Getting In
The gentlemen began their experience with a 10 a.m. reporting time to set up their camera equipment and mark their spot in the reserved media area at El Paso County Coliseum. With only one entrance for media, American Disabled Act Veterans, and the VIP members to get through the Secret Service sweep, it took the pair around three hours to actually enter the building. “After being told we would be allowed to re-enter around three we actually didn’t get in until five,” Falkner said.
Around 12:30 p.m. the Secret Service came in to do a security sweep of the media area to ensure proper setup. Falkner and Reyes then proceeded to exit the building along with the rest of the media organizations in attendance. Once outside, the two walked the grounds and met with Trump supporters, listened to live rock music, visited food truck and more. “I was surrounded by a lot of my friends that I knew in the field,” Reyes said. Being the son of FOX affiliate RR, Reyes has been surrounded with media professionals throughout his life.
After getting to talk to some new and old faces, Falkner and Reyes re-entered the coliseum with Reyes taking his position at the camera in the media section while Falkner found his seat in the stands right above the media. Around eight p.m. President Trump entered the coliseum to deliver his remarks at the rally.
Interesting People Met
Along with catching up with some old faces at the MAGA rally, Falkner and Reyes also came across some unique individuals. One such individual is now being referred to as ‘wall guy’ because he dressed in a border wall costume to promote why the wall should go up. The man turned heads outside the rally and caught both Falkner and Reyes’ attention. Along with ‘wall guy,’ Trump supporting bloggers and journalists traveled to El Paso from as far as New Mexico and California to cover the event. Other individuals traveled on buses from Albuquerque, New Mexico and Arizona. According to an unconfirmed quote from Falkner some were even paid to attend the rally. Others were dedicated to documenting as many rallies as they could to support Trump’s 2020 campaign. Reyes also had the chance to meet the claimed founder of the “Build the Wall” Go Fund Me.
Experiencing the Rally
To start off the speeches for the night Texas Senator Ted Cruz began by saying “The great city of El Paso will be proud to welcome the President of the United States.” Then Donald Trump Jr. came out to introduce his father onto the stage. While Trump Jr. was on stage he quoted his father and said, “America will never be a socialist country.” Trump Jr. also called out the media for only covering fake news. Donald Trump then took the stage to deliver his remarks. He tagged along with what his son had said and also called out the media for relaying fake news. Every remark made against the media resulted in boos from the crowd who began to flip the media circle off. Individuals waiting outside prior to the start of the rally were already displeased with the fact that members of the media and VIP got in before them, and within 15 minutes of Trump being on stage a male Trump supporter ran through the media section using vulgar language towards the media trying to knock down cameras before being stopped by another Trump supporter in the media center.
The main topic Trump spoke on was immigration and his plan to build The Wall across border lining cities in the United States. As mentioned above “Fake News” was also another topic of interest Trump presented at the rally. Trump closed by saying “And together with the proud, and incredible, and great people of the state of Texas we will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong again. We will make America safe again. We will make America great again. Thank you, Texas. Thank you.”