After hearing months of media reports about Donald Trump rallies described as a violent soup of vitriolic people, I had the opportunity to attend one as a member of the crowd.
Trump was in Colorado Springs at the city’s airport this past Saturday (my colleague’s coverage here), and I went with my iPhone and producer Anna Hewson to observe and record anything that caught my interest. I was free from the press pen and made it a point to roam around in Hillary Clinton’s so-called “basket of deplorables.”
I was expecting something violent to happen.
I was expecting throngs of clandestine protesters to erupt in the crowd throughout Trump’s speech.
I was expecting something like I’ve seen repeatedly on the news... something intense.
And this is the part where this personal account gets boring for readers who are expecting colorful accounts of rabid Trump sycophants and accounts of violence.
But what I found was a crowd of people who were passionate and peaceful, made up of families with children, a few minorities and working men and women and a few frat bros with boat shoes.
What really stuck out to me was the sense of awe among the people.
As Trump’s plane touched down on the runway, almost with perfect timing, the music changed to some sort of inspirational, presidential tune that sounded like it came out of a Harrison Ford movie. Maybe Air Force One? I don’t know.
As Trump exited the plane, hundreds of cell phones shot up into the air as the crowd roared. Reverence and adoration are words that come to mind as I think about the crowd.
Photos: Scenes from the Trump rally
Trump’s speech was classic Trump and people held on to every word. Trump spoke with his usual points about Clinton’s emails, repealing Obamacare, cracking down on terrorism, and then the wall.
There was the “build-the-wall," “lock-her-up” and “U-S-A” chanting, but I didn’t hear anything offensive or racist.
And I walked around a lot.
A group of four protesters got booted from the rally during Trump’s reference to illegal immigration.
There were some boos and hisses directed towards the press pen as Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the media.
I took many photos and images of people in flag shirts, “Hillary for Prison” garb and one guy who wore the Gadsden flag like a cape.
And then as the event ended, I left a bit amused I didn’t get that classic Trump rally moment on video.
That changed a bit as I exited the hangar and heard screaming and yelling among dozens of Trump and Hillary supporters doing what they do best when they get together – a lot of yelling.
I heard one Trump supporter call the protestors outside a “a bunch of f***ots.” I heard a Hillary supporter yell out “A*****les!”
There were no fights and no swinging of fists.
A few hours before I wrote this account, I checked with Colorado Springs Police. They didn’t arrest anybody for anything.
While each rally is certainly different, I can say things weren’t as vitriolic or angry as I was expecting.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I plan to do the same type of visit if and when Hillary Clinton comes to town.
Copyright 2016 KUSA