Hundreds of protesters who decried President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, his attitude toward minorities, and his economic programs, spoke with one voice to say his foreign policy in Syria must be reversed.
Dallas area businessman Omar Barzani said for years the Kurdish people have been fighting alongside American soldiers and dying in their joint fight against ISIS terrorists only to be abandoned on a whim of the president.
“We are not asking Americans to die,” Barzani said. “We are asking for a return to the way things were a week ago.”
In a week Trump has undone what has taken years to accomplish, Barzani said. Now Turkey is working toward a Kurdish genocide that even Republicans in Congress have spoken out against, he said.
Lined up behind him and surrounding him were protesters with many different agendas all shouting that America cannot abandon its Kurdish friends and allies to support a Turkish despot. Some in the crowd held up photos of burned and wounded children and yelled that the people united would never be divided.
“Everyone agrees that what is happening in Syria is atrocious,” said Gregg Smith, associate pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. “This is an amalgamation of people, but there is agreement in our protest. This is what happens when love comes together.”
But, one Trump protester who would not identify himself because of fears that he would be retaliated against on his job, said he was disappointed that more people did not show up to say they would not put up with the racism, the hatred and the divisiveness that he said the Trump presidency represented to him.
When asked about Judge Whitfield, an African American who said he lives in the small town of Rosebud near Waco and who said he supports Trump because they share the same religious values of opposing abortion on demand, opposition to alternative lifestyles and his alliance with Israel, the unidentified protester said their two views were irreconcilable.
“Everything that I understand Trump to be for is against Christianity,” the 27-year-old Dallas resident said. “Trump doesn’t support marginalized people. Trump likes white people. He stands for family separation and police brutality. While those things cannot be tied directly to Trump, the rhetoric he uses puts a flame to it.”
As the demonstration against Trump’s willingness to remove American troops from Syria grew, the protesters faced off with Trump supporters who wanted to get inside American Airlines Center, but were not allowed to because all the seats were taken.
Police did their best and ultimately were successful in keeping the two sides apart.
Matt Wilson, who identified himself as a Trump supporter, said he did not understand why the police were asking him to step back and not the protesters.
“This is our rally,” he yelled. “This is what the Democrats want to do, take all of our rights.”
Other Trump supporters at the rally also pointed to their religious beliefs underpinning their wish to see him re-elected.
Clint Spencer, of Van, in East Texas, said his opposition to abortion is a main reason he felt drawn to Trump’s candidacy.
“It’s a complex issue and a lot of emotions are involved,” Spencer said. “But look at it this way: If you come to live with me for nine months, do i have the right to decide if you live or die? As a Christian, abortion is something that I cannot live with.”
Spencer also said his Christianity does not allow for same-sex marriages. There is also a double standard when it comes to how people evaluate Trump’s policies and how the policies of other presidents are evaluated, he said.
“Obama and Clinton said we needed tougher border security but when Trump did it, he was called a racist for saying the same thing,” Spencer said.
Spencer said he has always supported Republicans, but some Republicans, such as Bush, seemed to be too willing to go along with Democrats.
“Trump is bringing our jobs back,” he said. “It’s why I think a lot of Republicans did not support him in the beginning. They were making money from shipping our jobs away.”
Earlier in the same parking lot just a few blocks away from where Trump was having his campaign rally Thursday night, Democratic politicians representing Dallas and Tarrant County voters set up a podium. Thousands of Trump supporters had already gathered to attend the Keep America Great rally. Democrats told reporters that Trump was a liar who came to con voters just one more time.
“Trump’s economy has benefited the wealthy and the well connected while leaving working families behind,” said Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth. “Nothing has been more disastrous than the impact of his tax scam.”
According to Romero, the richest 5 percent of Texans will receive more than half of the benefit of Trump’s tax cut and small businesses such as automobile repair shops will have to foot the bill along with Texans who are working for wages.
And while corporations such as Walmart and Caterpillar may save billions of dollars as a result of the new tax law passed during the Trump administration, those corporations will not pass on their savings to their workers or to the people who buy their products, Romero said.
Trump’s ongoing war of words with Mexican government officials is also hurting Texas small businesses and Texas voters, Romero said. Trump tariffs threaten to increase the costs of $1.4 billion in goods that cross the U.S.-Mexico border daily, which in turn jeopardizes millions of jobs in the U.S. and Mexico, Romero said.
In Texas, Trump is what we call, “All hat, no cattle,” Romero said.
But Plano resident Sandy Tabacinic said that Trump’s economic policies are what attracted her to him and that Obama was too involved in the personal lives of Americans. Tabacinic got to the American Airlines Center about two hours before the doors opened Thursday afternoon for the 7 p.m. rally.
“I think Obama was really bad for the economy,” she said.
When asked about the thousands of people lined up to get in to see Trump, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he did not think most of those people were from the Dallas area. Jenkins said Texas has become a battleground state in the upcoming election, one that Trump is horrified of losing.
Jenkins pointed to recent polling figures which showed that nearly half of Texas voters will not vote for Trump in 2020.
“Trump has failed Texans time and time again,” Jenkins said. “On every issue, the border wall, the economy and health care, Trump has broken his promises and aligned himself directly in the opposite direction of the interests of Texans. That’s why Donald Trump is here tonight — to try to fool the people of Texas and run away from his record.”
Samuel Crabtree, a 16-year-old Trump supporter from Greenville, said the president probably isn’t the man he would have chosen, but that he is the best man for the job right now.
“The only thing I don’t like is how rude he is to people,” said Crabtree, who expects to vote in 2022. “But everything else he does is all right.”