Students respond to Trump’s rally appearance in Huntsville

Managing Editor Hannah Zimmer

Many UNA students traveled to Huntsville Sept. 22 to either protest or support President Donald Trump’s rally for potential senator Luther Strange.

Among the students was senior Kayla Cleveland who said Trump used the event to discuss his own plans rather than Strange’s ideas.

“He completely made a speech about his own agenda more than a simple endorsement of Strange,” Cleveland said.

Trump also addressed his thoughts about the athletes who have chosen to stay seated during the National Anthem at sporting events as an act of protest against the country’s political leaders.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL (National Football League), or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our great American flag and should stand for the National Anthem,” Trump said in a tweet Sept. 23.

Junior Aaron Cornelius said he agrees with Trump’s tweet about the athletes who did not stand for the National Anthem.

“I’m 100 percent behind him on the NFL (statement),” he said. “(They) need to be fired if they won’t stand and respect our flag.”

Cleveland said Trump’s comments about NFL players were “completely inappropriate.”

“He talked about NFL players protesting and called them ‘sons of bitches’ in a crowd where there were children present,” Cleveland said.

Furthermore, the rally brought a diverse group of people to Huntsville.

Cleveland said supporters of Trump chanted, “Build the wall.” Also represented at the rally were Democratic Socialists of North Alabama who protested Trump outside of the Von Braun Center. Cleveland said they were protesting injustice, racism and fascism.

“It was very peaceful, (until) Trump supporters came out of the arena telling the protesters that they were losers, using racial slurs against the African-Americans that were there (and) using obscene hand gestures,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said the rally was more divisive than unifying for the American people.

“For me, this rally just solidified why I do not support him,” Cleveland said.

Although the rally focused more on Trump’s agendas, the purpose was to gain support for Strange. If Luther Strange beats Roy Moore to become Republican nominee, he will face off against Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the general election Dec. 12.