Donald Trump Jr. campaigns at GVSU

Republican rally draws protestors, large crowd

By Ashlyn Korienek | 11/2/16 10:44pm


Donald Trump Jr. made an appearance at Grand Valley State University with less than a week left on the campaign trail, telling students their vote could determine whether his father, Donald Trump, wins the 2016 election Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The GVSU College Republicans club hosted the rally in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room Wednesday, Nov. 2, led by Trump Jr., the executive vice president for development and acquisition for the Trump Organization, spoke as a surrogate for his father's campaign.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes - Donald Trump Jr. came to speak in the Grand Riveer Room on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes - Protesters gather during the speech. Donald Trump Jr. came to speak in the Grand Riveer Room on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

The line to enter the rally stretched down the hallway well before the doors opened at 3:30 p.m, and Trump Jr. arrived at 4:40 p.m., facing a crowd split with opposing views.

Although many attendees sported gear supporting Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, a crowd of protesters held up signs of opposition while chanting “black lives matter.” Trump supporters responded with chants of “U.S.A.” and “build a wall.”

Tucker Haske, a GVSU hospitality and tourism management student, said he trusts the candidate and has followed Trump since he first announced his campaign.

“I’m here today because I love Donald Trump and I love everything that Donald Trump stands for,” Haske said. “I think that he’s a man for the people. I’m excited to hear someone speaking on his behalf because it’s coming down to crunch time and Michigan is a pretty important state to win.”

Addressing students on all sides of the political spectrum, Trump Jr. said his father is a candidate who will fight corruption for all American people, regardless of diverse backgrounds.

As many states are up for grabs by either major party candidate, Trump Jr. believes Michigan has come into play as a state that could swing toward the Republican candidate.

“It’s awesome to have this state in play, and the reason that it’s in play is honestly because people are sick of politicians,” Trump Jr. said. “They have made a lot of promises they have not delivered on. They have done this for generations and we have an opportunity to get someone in (Washington) D.C. who hasn’t been a part of that system, who hasn’t been a part of those promises.”

During his speech, Trump Jr. referred to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who won the Democratic primary in Michigan vote Tuesday, March 8. Trump Jr. said Sanders was “cheated” by the Democratic Party.

Reaching out to the Sanders supporters in the crowd, Trump Jr. said his father's campaign offers the “real change” both young and older voters are calling for.

“(Donald Trump) wants to make sure that the American dream is alive for all people,” Trump Jr. said. “It’s good to speak to the young people because you guys are the ones who are going to inherit most of this mess.”

GVSU student Jacob Dillon attended the rally to protest Trump’s campaign and demonstrate solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and other minority groups that face issues like racism or homophobia.

“We are showing up to peacefully protest and fight back against that level of rhetorical racist, homophobic and Islamophobic ideals in opposition to Donald Trump’s platform,” Dillon said.

Mike Sullivan, president of GVSU College Republicans, said the group stands with Donald Trump, as his vision represents conservative values college students can relate to.

“We think the Trump campaign offers a conservative vision for America,” Sullivan said. “Michigan is in play. Students at Grand Valley can contribute to increase votes for Donald Trump. “

As the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will visit Detroit Friday, Nov. 4, Trump Jr. said regardless of her return, he is confident his father can win the Michigan vote.

“Hillary Clinton is coming back to Michigan because we are not supposed to be winning here,” Trump Jr. said. “But she’s coming back with only five days left and we’re giving her a run for her money.” 

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