Political Potpourri: Trump Rallies for Rosendale

by Brad Molnar

Who Scheduled This Thing?

The problem with writing for a weekly newspaper is press time rarely matches the event schedule. Before the Laurel Outlook is in your hands news services have reported everything Trump said so the story is stale. So how about the unique view from the press platform?

People were lining up at 10AM for a 7PM speech by America’s forty fifth president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Press showed up at 8:30AM and given ninety minutes to finish camera and mobile satellite equipment inspection and placement. Media could re-enter at 3:30PM after security sweeps. My computer and camera were opened to check for explosives. I had none.

PRESS QUARANTINE

The plan of stowing my computer and going back outside to interview Trump protestors and Trump loyalists was thwarted when told I could not go back out; as I had during the Pence visit. Further, I could interview people already in the auditorium but if I entered the press area I could not leave except with permission to use the bathroom. Stashed my computer and started an interview with a muscular oil field worker wearing a trump flag as a cape. A female staffer, younger than my youngest granddaughter, with arms crossed, head tilted, and one foot out front, interrupted my interview. With locked eyes she informed she had had her “eye on” me. All 87 pounds of her looked ferocious. She explained I was not allowed to interview on the floor but could go inside the press area and interview people in the refreshment line as they passed the press gate “just like the other press”.

I informed her I would not hang over the press fence like a monkey begging for peanuts, I would go to the bathroom without raising my hand (just like the other 10,000 gathered) and would talk to whoever I wanted, just like anyone else there. I finished my interview and went to the bathroom. She was waiting and escorted me to the press area.

PROTEST                                                                      

While I did not get to interview the handful of anti-Trump protestors you are not missing much. I recognized and have interviewed the same protestors many times. It never changes. The signs read that Trump should be impeached, and Trump is a racist, blah, blah. When asked why they are there the answer is always, “I don’t like anything about Trump”, “Trump is such a liar”, and “Trump is just for the rich”. They rarely give their names or go in-depth.

But there was a protest inside. Some well weathered rancher type’s unfurled large anti-Tester slogans over the balcony to the applause of those on the floor. Secret Service types confiscated the placards to chants of USA, USA, USA. We in the press pen discussed the event. Always sensitive to 1st amendment rights we all agreed Metra staff could have demanded the signs be taken down as they own the Metra. Trump staff could have taken them down as it was their, albeit unpublished, rule and they had rented the RIM ROCK AUTO ARENA. We all agreed it was inappropriate for the Secret Service to confiscate the placards as they were private property and the job of the Secret Service is to protect the POTUS not to interject themselves in protest squabbles. No others have reported on this incident.

And there was the Plaidshirtguy#. He gets his own heading.

Press Is Soup to Nuts

TV ASAHI from Japan was there and worked every moment. I thought China’s CCTV would be there as they report Trump’s every move, but nope. Weijua Jiang, is a CBS correspondent born in China. She laughed at my attempts at Chinese and was as gracious as she is beautiful. Right Side Broadcasting never stopped their telethon offering “a Trump flag signed by great Americans for just a $10 donation”. RSB is a You Tube broadcaster that follows Trump rallies and has 300,000 subscribers.

CNN, President Trump’s favorite “fake news” target, was there personified by Jim Acosta. Poor Jim is no more popular at Trump rallies in Montana than he is in Florida where he was booed on national TV. Jim was flipped off more than my Mom the day before they pulled her driver’s license. The music was loud but it was easy to lip read the many “CNN you suck” salutations. Jim maintained a professional posture while he was broadcasting but his expression while off camera tells the story of how much he enjoyed being there.

CNN's Jim Acosta at Trump Rally in Billings, photo courtesy Brad Molnar.

Plaidshirtguy#

Billings West High Senior, Tyler Linfesty, is internationally known as the guy in the plaid shirt that got removed from the Trump rally. CNN, earning their reputation during a later interview, said Tyler and his friends were escorted off the stage and out the door because they were not enthusiastic enough. CNN failed to mention Linfesty put on a symbol of the Democratic Socialists of America organization and tried to trick Trump into autographing the Communist Manifesto. My photo shows Linfesty not wearing the insignia but it is visible in later film clips. Linfesty obviously smuggled it in to embarrass the President of the United States.

Linfesty has the right to wear DSA insignia but he had an obligation to be honest to the rally organizers about his intent. Staff had the right to un-invite him from the stage for his deciet. But the police had no right to throw him out of the public arena for his political beliefs.

Just a Suggestion

Mr. Linfesty, if you want to test your cleverness try putting on a MAGA hat while standing behind Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un or Nicholas Maduro at one of their rallies. They promote socialism just like you do. Perhaps they will think it is funny and take a “selfie” with you. Or, perhaps, you will be returned in critical condition, just ask Otto Warmbier. No wait, he’s dead. Happy trails.