ANN HAWKSBY photo
BURLINGTON — Thoussands of people of all ages and ethnicities crowded Main Street Thursday evening some in anticipation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rally scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Flynn Theater, others in protest, many sporting signs announcing loyalty to his liberalist opposition – Bernie Sanders.
“I’ve got to admire him (Trump) for coming to Burlington, this is a hard state for him to come to because there are just so many liberal people here,” said Brian Rowell of Highgate.
“I think the biggest reason for Trump to come here is to draw a lot of attention to his campaign. Let’s face it Bernie does have a good showing of supporters that are here tonight,” he said.
Rowell said that more than anything, he and his wife, Tammy, came to Burlington just for the experience, and to see and feel what was going to transpire as Trump invaded Sander’s hometown.
“We do need a change, I will say that. The middle class and those with lower incomes just keep getting poorer and poorer. … I’m not saying it’s all Obama’s fault, and I am not 100 percent sure of who I will support,” said Rowell.
“It is just time for a change, I will say that.”
Justine St. Cyr, 21, of Enosburg, said she practically begged her mother, Amanda, to come to the Trump event. They were among the 20,000 ticket holders hoping to get into the venue that holds 1,400.
“I am a first time voter, and wanted to be here for the experience and to just listen to what Trump has to say,” St. Cyr explained.
“I think I am standing on the wrong side of the street,” she said from among the crowd of protesters.
“I have been following what he has been saying and have decided, I am a Trump supporter,” she said.
“He has a strong and powerful personality, and has a lot of great experience with negotiating with a lot of very, very powerful people,” she said.
“I think he can do well with tax reform, he has great experience as a businessman,” St. Cyr said.
“He is a little rough around the edges for sure, but I do like that he actually gets up there and says what a lot of people think but that a lot of us wouldn’t dare say,” said her mother.
“Because of some of his stands, like wanting to build a wall and being so against illegal immigration, he’s been called a racist; I don’t think he is,” she said.
“I’ve not decided, but wanted to be here for the experience,” she added.
“This is history in the making, I don’t know if a presidential candidate has every come to Burlington,” she said.
“I think it is bold of him to come to Bernie’s territory,” her daughter chimed in.
“And this is what attracts a lot of people to him (Trump),” she said.
“I think it shows his confidence level, and strength; we need someone like that, someone who clearly isn’t afraid of the fight against ISIS.