Seven Observations from the Donald Trump ‘Town Hall’
1. The Trump Team needs to get Spotify.
When sitting at an Iowa caucuses event for more than two hours waiting for the principle speaker to come on stage, in this case Donald Trump, please have more than about a five song playlist. I heard Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” at least five times.
2. If you looked young, or diverse, you could be asked to be pulled back stage behind Trump.
I walked into the Trump event right around 5 p.m. as the doors opened at 4:30 p.m. After being asked right away if I wanted to have a “special seat,” I noticed it happened to be because I was a college student.
The Trump team was pulling a diverse crowd to sit in direct camera view behind the round stage. The crowd eventually consisted of veterans, elderly couples, college students, minorities and young families.
3. They consider this a town hall?
State Senator Brad Zaun introduced Trump and called it “the largest town hall in the history of the Iowa caucuses.” Well, if they consider the seemingly prescripted questions from “invited” intersest groups, I guess it would be the largest. However, how many attendees agreed with what he had to say, and how many were there for a show?
4. The amount of free “Trump Swag” is through the roof.
I walked away form the event with a Trump “Make America Great Again” T-shirt and beanie.
I’ll be keeping those as collector’s items in the future. Attendees also received signs stating “The Silent Majority Stands with Trump.”
5. Why do they already have a plan for protestors? Oh yeah, because they clearly need it.
Prior to Trump getting on stage an announcement came over the speakers saying Trump is a supporter of the First Amendment and your right to protest. It conveniently added, “Mr. Trump supports the First Amendment almost as much as he supports the Second,” which garnered significant applause. It continued, if you were to encounter a protestor, hold a rally sign over your head and start chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump.” Wouldn’t you know it, a protestor would try to get Trump’s attention during the question and answer section, he was briskly escorted out by Trump staffers, Secret Service, and Iowa State Police, but not until after ripping up his own rally sign and throwing it like confetti.
6. There are two rules when sitting behind “the Don.”
When briefed by a Trump staffer before he came on stage, all of us in direct camera view were told, “Do not fall asleep and do not play games on your phone or we will remove you. Other than that, sit back and enjoy the show.” Yes, they did use the term show. The staffer did not call it an “event” or a “town hall” but rather a “show.” In all reality, that is why I was there, to see a show.
7. These staffers are what I would imagine a Trump staffer to look like.
All the staffers were wearing finely pressed suits and had greased-back hair. As typical of campaign staff, they were pushy with commit-to-caucus cards, but these were a special kind of “slick.” One happened to be a former Navy SEAL and was sure to tell everyone he was.
The Trump rally was unlike any other event I have ever attended, and I can say, I will never be attending another one. It is a very one-and-done event.
Borchardt is a junior studying political science and law, politics, and society from Litchfield, Minnesota. This summer he interned in the office of U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and was the recipient of the Harkin Institute D.C. Experience Scholarship. He enjoys politics, Minnesota sports and playing his guitar. Follow him on Twitter.