Cynthia Terry, Staff Writer
President Trump’s Oct. 10 rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis was met with both fierce supporters and protestors.
The president arrived via helicopter with mixed reactions. His speech was filled with angry rhetoric, specifically directed towards Democratic politicians. He attacked Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Minnesota’s own Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) in her own district. For almost six minutes alone, President Trump singled out Omar. As photos of Omar wearing a hijab flashed across jumbo screens at the Target Center, Trump stirred up the crowds against the freshman lawmaker, slamming her as an “America-hating socialist” and a “disgrace.” The president then widened his attack to target Somali refugees in Minnesota, which has the largest concentration of Somalis in America. He promised rally attendees, who booed loudly at the mention of the state’s Somali residents, that he would “give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls.” He also said he would make Minnesota turn to a red state come next election, a feat that hasn’t occurred since 1972.
Outside the Target Center, protestors had gathered. They remained there for the better part of the day and well into the evening. The protest began largely nonviolently, with people of all races and ages protesting against Trump’s presidency and administration. The signs and chants varied on messages and amount of profanity used but the general message was similar throughout the whole night: The President of the United States should not be racist, misogynist or conspire with foreign powers. As the night went on, tensions grew. Protesters blocked cars on the street, throwing traffic cones and rocks. Protesters burned Trump’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats in the street. Police officers extinguished the bonfire and tried to maintain order, using pepper spray on some protestors. Others complained of chemical irritants in the air, and many protesters were coughing and covering their faces. “Hands up, don’t shoot!” the crowd chanted as they faced off with police on horses.
Protests began online weeks earlier, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) publishing a statement on Twitter repudiating Trump. “Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an honor to welcome a sitting president of the United States to Minneapolis and to showcase all our city has to offer on the national stage,” said Frey. “But these aren’t ordinary circumstances. Since taking office, President Trump’s actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis’ diverse communities.” He went on to state that “while there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”
Frey’s comments were met with threats, anger, and even anti-Semitism. Trump himself attacked Frey ahead of his visit, calling him a “lightweight mayor” on Twitter. Frey seemed to brush it off, replying “Yawn… Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills, we govern with integrity, and we love all of our neighbors.”
This article was originally published in the November 1, 2019 issue.