Donald Trump Brought the Funk Monday Night at the AAC (Review)
With Robert Jeffress, Katrina Peirson and Scottie Nell Hughes
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Monday, September 14, 2015
Attending one of Donald Trump's events is like stepping into an alternate reality where the United States has reaped the whirlwind of years of nativism and indulging its worst impulses. He offers nothing in the way of policy. We are supposed to trust him, because of the archetype he represents and the other he wants us to fear. No problem is too big. Trump will simply negotiate his, our, way out of it. The crowd Monday night at the American Airlines Center, not quite 20,000 but still impressive, was ready to be saved.
Sitting in the AAC's third deck waiting for the show to start, Landry Watson and Juan Pedroza, the latter of whom joked that he was the only Hispanic in the crowd, both said they were supporting Trump because his business acumen makes him better suited to run the United States than those with more political experience. Trump's failure to know the names of specific foreign leaders wasn't important, Watson said, because he's been spending his time working on his real estate business.
Trump's opening acts fit the revival mood. First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, who's spoken glowingly of Trump at his Fox news commentator gig over the past couple of weeks, opened the service with a prayer. Trump, Jeffress said, was simply a humble servant of God doing his best to "make America great again." Jeffress was followed ably by Katrina Peirson and Scottie Nell Hughes, a couple of Tea Party media personalities. They were angry, fiercely protective of their kids and their country. Peirson, Hughes and the crowd spoke and reacted with the fervor of people who feel wronged, that they are losing something that's theirs.
A woman in the crowd gets lost in her fervor.
"The 2016 election is going to be more historic than the election of Barack Obama," Peirson said, exhibiting the less-than-complete understanding of words and their definitions that permeated the evening.
Finally, after Peirson, Hughes and a traffic delay on the way in from Love Field, it was time for the evening's headliner. Trump didn't disappoint. He played all the hits. He trumpeted his growing leads in polls around the country — a new one in New Hampshire has Trump sitting at 40 percent support. He gave a shout out to Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban — who Trump said offered him the Mavericks' arena on just a few days notice — as terrific people. He ribbed his hometown Giants for their poor clock management Sunday night against the Cowboys, telling the crowd he knew they'd be friendly after the Cowboys won the game.
After being joined briefly on the stage by an obsequious-looking Jeffress, Trump began to hit the notes he's hit so often in his forays around the country. The media, Trump said, has stopped calling him a clown, but still fails to recognize the seriousness of his candidacy. Other candidates lower in the polls, like Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson, are said to be surging, according to Trump. That's an adjective that doesn't get applied to him, he said.
Donald Trump and Robert Jeffress
The real estate developer did a muted, but solid rendition of his standard anti-immigrant rhetoric. He stayed away from the word "rapist," but he did say that political leaders in foreign countries were dumping their undesirables on the United States. Those people, Trump said, are some of the worst gang members in the United States. To raucous applause, Trump reprised his pledge to stop undocumented immigration and get Mexico to pay for a wall along the border. Mexico would fund the wall, Trump said, because of the trade deficit between the countries. The wall would be extra nice, according to Trump, because one day it will have president Trump's name on it.
"Do you think we just saw the next president?" Pedroza asked on the way to the exits.
He sounded hopeful.
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