St. Louis Trump Rally Draws Protestors, Fans

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – Protesters were loud and persistent during a campaign rally for Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Friday, even as a steady stream of them were removed from the event held at the Peabody Opera House.
     The theme of Trump’s hour-and-eight-minute speech may have been “We will win again,” but it was punctuated with frequent interruptions. During the opening 36 minutes alone, six protestors were removed; two more followed later.
     Trump had pointed words for the protesters as each was removed by St. Louis City police. He told one protester to “Go back home to mommy,” and told another “Go home and get a job.”
     Trump complimented the police on their professionalism.
     “You see the abuse the police just took?” Trump told the crowd. “The police should be suing them, not the other way around.”
     One person yelled “Get the trash out!” as a protestor was led away. At other times the crowd chanted, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as protesters were led away.
     “Our country has to toughen up folks,” Trump said as a protester was led away. “We have to toughen up. These people are bringing us down.”
     Later, the candidate said the protest would likely be the only thing the media talked about when it reported on the rally later Friday night.
     “They talk about protest,” Trump said. “They don’t talk about what’s really happening in these forums and these rooms and these stadiums. They don’t talk about the love.”
     As for Trump, he used most of his time onstage before a largely enthusiastic and boisterous overflow crowd to talk about trade, immigration, healthcare, education and the military.
     Trump spoke out against the Trans Pacific Partnership, saying nobody is talking about the deal devaluing currency.
     “It will be a disaster,” Trump said during a one hour eight minute speech.
     Trump continued, “I like trade. I’m a free trader. We’re all free traders. But it’s got to be reasonable. It’s got to be fair.”
     Trump mentioned a $58 billion trade deficit with Mexico as an example and used it as a segue to discuss immigration.
     He listed several high-profile crimes committed across the country by illegal aliens and reiterated his previous plan to build a wall between the Unites States and Mexico border.
     “Oh, am I good at building things,” Trump said, which brought raucous cheers.
     Trump vowed to repeal Obamacare and called it a “catastrophe waiting to happen.” He said his plan to increase competition within the health care industry would cost less and be more effective.
     “You have to get rid of the state lines and get competition between the states, because right now you have a monopoly in every state,” Trump said. “We’re going to have great healthcare.”
     Trump said he would eliminate common core and bring back decisions on education curriculum back to local educators.
     He vowed to strengthen the military. Trump said he spoke to current soldiers who were discouraged because their own weapons were being used against them, weapons that were given to and abandoned by United States allies.
     Trump also blasted Obama’s exit strategy in Iraq.
     “We’re going to build up our military,” Trump said. “We’re going to take care of our veterans. Our veterans are being treated horribly.”
     Trump took aim at his competition on both sides of the aisle.
     “Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t got the stamina to be president and we have a communist in Bernie Sanders,” Trump said.
     He also took shots at his Republican rivals, calling Ted Cruz “Lying Ted” and referring to John Kasich as “the absentee governor.” Trump also accused Cruz and Marco Rubio, whom he referred to as “Little Marco,” of serving special interests.
     Missouri’s primary election is on Tuesday, and it could prove to be a key state for Trump. The Republican candidate has won the state in the last four presidential elections.
     In the hour leading to the rally, supporters inside the venue sporadically chanted “We want Trump!” and “Build that wall!” Red Trump baseball caps were highly visible among the throng of supporters.
     Even as the event started, hundreds still lined the building hoping to get in. The event was played through speakers for those left outside.
     Thousands of people supporting and opposing Trump lined city sidewalks for several square blocks around the venue hours before it began.
     Trump supporters shouted “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
     Those chants were met with “Bump Trump” from opponents.
     Market and 14th Streets, two major roadways in the city, were shut down around the venue. Barricades and police officers separated the supporters and opponents.
     Emotions were often tense between supporters and protesters. A person wearing a mask and a t-shirt that read, “F-k the Police,” walked on an American flag.
     Shawn Larkin wore a Trump t-shirt and was excited as he walked to get in line. The 19-year-old will be voting in his first presidential election and Trump has his vote.
     “He’s the man,” Larkin said. “He doesn’t have to be politically correct.”
     Mike Wolk, 45, waited patiently among the crowd outside the Peabody Opera House with his 15-year-old daughter.
     He was excited that his daughter wanted to come to the rally. Wolk believes Trump is the right candidate to create jobs, and fix trade and illegal immigration.
     “I wanted to come and support Trump, because I feel he’s one of the few people who can fix the problems we have in this country,” Wolk said.
     Hundreds of people, many with signs in hand, showed up to protest Trump’s presence.
     Howard Cox, 30, stood silently with an anti-Trump sign on 14th Street.
     “Trump promotes separation and we don’t need that here in St. Louis,” Cox said. “I feel that we’ve come a long way as a people here and Trump promotes separation, hate and negativity and I’m against all of that.”
     Ferguson resident Sheri Moore, 43, stood along Market with a sign that said, “Trump is a racist.” She fears for the future if he is elected.
     “I believe he’s trying to divide,” Moore said. “I have kids coming up and it will be worse for them if he gets into office.”
     Police said 32 people were arrested inside and outside of the rally. Thirty-one people were charged with disturbing the peace and one was charged with third-degree assault, CNN reported.

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