Trump fans carry grievances at Tory rallies

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RICHMOND, Virginia – In the main auditorium of a Tory rally titled “Take Back Virginia” this week in the state capital, speakers promoted electoral conspiracy theories, warned of civil war coming up with the liberal states and proclaimed that President Biden should be arrested for treason.

But in the back room of the event, this sinister tenor gave way to the kind of somber, festive tone often found at one of former President Donald J. Trump’s iconic gatherings – food, drink and laughter. The sounds of a football hatchback converging with political grievances.

As a political reporter for the New York Times, I have attended nearly two dozen such events, including rallies at Mr. Trump’s stadiums, smaller events like this, or festivals. of fortune like “Trumpstock” for Mr. Trump’s super fans in northern Arizona. Each time, it reminds me of how these occasions are constructed to hardly resemble a political event.

Mr. Trump has his signature rally playlist – which his die-hard supporters have learned by heart – full of a variety of music, including opera, rock, and even “Memoirs” from the musical “Cats”.

The event in Virginia, where Mr. Trump delivered an address over the phone, served meatballs and cheese platters, and had a cash bar, where patrons could watch speakers from the other room. At one point, two customers exchanged election integrity petitions, updating each other on ongoing efforts to overturn the 2020 election while ordering a glass of wine.

However, the most visible reflection of how Mr. Trump’s most ardent fans have embraced his personality and grievances is in the clothes. Among some attendees, it is not enough to go to an event on behalf of Mr. Trump; their presence also requires wearing something that mimics some of his political business cards – mocking his political opponents, using vulgar language, and openly embracing the politically incorrect. At some events, I’ve seen people with particularly crude T-shirts hold their own lines of photos, while others line up for selfie after selfie.

In Virginia, I spoke to three men – all dressed fairly typical for an event like this – about what they had decided to wear and how their clothes reflected their political beliefs.

These interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Credit…Astead Herndon / The New York Times

James Thornton, 47, from Virginia

“I am open to both sides. But when I go to the other side, they don’t like me. I want to hear their side and they can hear my side. This is how society should be. Don’t shut things up because you can’t respond.

“For me, education is the most important thing. Critical Race Theory and LGBT People What I don’t mind. I don’t care if you’re gay. It’s when you push your sights on my sights. Where do your rights begin and where do mine end? “

“It’s not that I hate Democrats. This is their agenda and what they are pushing for. I am a hardworking person. And I see that my tax money is not benefiting me at all. It benefits a guy who doesn’t want to give 100 percent and make that effort. I know not everyone is like that. Some people need help, no doubt. But when I see a 27-year-old laughing and saying, “I’m getting help,” I say, “What! I pay for it. You know, I used to have a sticker that said, “Keep working, the millions of people on welfare depend on it.” “

Credit…Astead Herndon / The New York Times

Val Yurachek, 52, from Virginia

“I worry about our freedoms. The American people want what this country is based on, which is our freedoms. And all these mandates and forced vaccinations, it’s not America and it’s not freedom and it’s not our God-given rights. Rights come from God. And that is what the Constitution is based on.

“We do not want to take the path of a socialist or communist country. My family came from a place that had one of these types of diets, and that’s not something we want here.

“I was in the Marine Corps. And my father was in the Marine Corps as well. And as Americans, we love our country, and the flag and the eagle represent it. I don’t want to cover everyone up and say that only one party supports this. But if you’re going to support America, and you’re going to support patriotism, the conservative side – the Constitution side – this is the group to do it. The left has gone too far in communism and socialism.

Credit…Astead Herndon / The New York Times

Robert Levy, 62, from New Jersey

“We started the t-shirt business last summer. First it was a few shirts, then we put up a sign fighting against the Covid restrictions – and it was a big success. “

“It just got easier to sell anti-Biden stuff. Because of the horrible things he does, people on both sides of the aisle are fed up with what he does. If you are not brain dead, you do not support these types of policies.

“We have to attend events like these because if we tried to sell on Facebook we would be eliminated. Because they don’t like the message. We have to dance to the music. We have to find our people who have our political convictions. “

“Our biggest seller is a shirt that says ‘Property stolen’ with a picture of the White House.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Trump fans carry grievances at Tory rallies
Trump fans carry grievances at Tory rallies
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