Citizens react to canceled UIC rally

22 The Leader attended republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s canceled Chicago rally at University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Pavillion hours before the rally was canceled. Through many interviews gauging attendees motivations, we drew conclusions that numerous Trump supporters were aware of the criticisms against the politician. However, many protestors were very closed off in attempting to understand the values and ideologies held by Trump supporters. One such protestor, Reyna Silva, a high school student, expressed her frustration with Trump supporters, insinuating that something must be wrong with them if they support Trump. “Honestly, I just want to see what’s wrong with these people. I’ve seen how they’re acting and it’s really childish, it’s like I’m seeing bits of him in them,” she said. “It’s crazy that these people really support someone like this.” UIC student Ali Alhechimi, who was at the rally to display his disapproval of Trump, talked to The Leader regarding the contempt he holds for the candidate, claiming that the content presented in his campaign is so extreme that it is not family-friendly. “I see families here. I see parents bringing their children, and they listen to the racist garbage this man is spewing,” he said. “It makes me think to myself, why would you want to expose your child to something like that?” Meanwhile, Trump supporters seemed to remain aware of but unfazed by such accusations, claiming that Trump is not as bad as he is often made out to be. In response to the claims that Trump supporters are crazy and close-minded, Chicago executive Bridget O’Connell said: “I think everyone just needs to respect each other.” O’Connell attempted to dispel common criticisms that Trump is racist and sexist by claiming he merely comes off that way because his speech is often unfiltered and not politically correct. “I don’t like everything he says, but I don’t think he’s a hate-mongerer; I just think he’s got an obnoxious personality. And it’s not necessarily the policies, it’s just how he says it,” she said. “I think if he chose his words better and had a bit of a filter, he wouldn’t insult so many people.” The protesters we interviewed echoed the common criticism of Trump’s campaign that it does not actually present any specific policies and that Trump supporters are ignorant of the empty rhetoric his campaign is allegedly based on. UIC student Oscar Martinee reiterated this claim, saying: “He never talks about policy, I haven’t heard any policies besides the wall. And apparently he makes good deals, but how do I know if that’s true?” In direct contradiction to the claim that Trump supporters are ignorant of Trump’s policies, Trump supporters at the rally seemed to be relatively well-versed in his proposed policies, citing specific ideas ranging from healthcare, to taxes, to immigration that most resonate with them. Linda Slabaugh, a nurse attorney, was specifically impressed by Trump’s proposed healthcare plans and used an analogy to explain why they seem an attractive option to her. “I like that it has more of a business approach, particularly with the pricing transparency. For example, if I told you I paid $10 a gallon for gas, you’d think I was crazy because you can look up on the pumper and very clearly see it’s only $2, so why would I pay $10,” she said. “But yet if you go to Northwestern Hospital, how much is a chest X-ray? Nobody knows. Not the person giving the x-ray, and certainly not me. I won’t know until six months later. I think I should know what the service I’m going to be getting is.” Frank Surillo, a small business owner, told The Leader why he agrees with Trump’s stances on both immigration and the reinstatement of American jobs in this country. “I’m a small business owner and I rent tools for a living. Over 95 percent of everything I rent is made in America, and it costs me twice as much to buy those tools than it does to buy Chinese tools, but I still buy American and I still rent American,” he said. Being a Mexican-American citizen, Surillo had strong views on Trump’s immigration policies and their portrayal in the media. “Most Mexicans hate him, but I’m Mexican and I love Trump. He just wants legal Mexicans, or anybody legal to work here, pay taxes here, and be legal. It’s not that hard.” Supporters and protestors also held conflicting opinions on the fact that Trump has never been a politician. While protestors viewed this as a lack of experience, supporters claimed this disconnect with politics is an impressive quality. Dan Backer said that he admired Trump’s departure from the political status quo. “I like that fact that he’s an outsider,” he said. “I hate the gridlock in Washington. Republicans, Democrats, to me, they’re all one party. We need somebody to get in there and get some action done.” Bilal Q., a student at UIC, shared his opinion on the subject with The Leader. “He has no experience in office, he’s got no economic policies, and he knows nothing about politics. The combination of those things should be enough to keep him out,” he said. Despite their conflicting ideologies, it seemed to be a common theme among protesters and supporters alike to come simply for the experience and to learn more about the candidate.