Theoden Janes

How Trump rally made me feel like a kid again

Protesters are escorted out of Cabarrus Arena during the Donald Trump rally in Concord.
Protesters are escorted out of Cabarrus Arena during the Donald Trump rally in Concord. tjanes@charlotteobserver.com

Monday was a perfectly beautiful day in Concord: mid-60s, sun shining, trees gently swaying in the breeze outside of Cabarrus Arena, like rocking chairs on front porches.

And it’s juuuust about to be spoiled, because the Donald J. Trump for President Rally is breaking up inside.

“You guys need to get a life!!” a woman screams, on her way out, at a half-dozen young men who are standing at the primary parking lot exit and holding up a bed sheet on which they’ve written “Tuck Frump.”

“You’re too hot to vote for Donald Trump!” one of them yells back at her.

She keeps walking and waves goodbye to them – with her middle finger.

“Stupid f----,” some guy in a “Make America Great Again” hat growls at those same sign-holders as he climbs into his brown Cadillac, and – hello! – another bird is flipped.

The protesters aren’t doing themselves any favors, either: “Let me suck on that middle finger, big boy!”

Think the proceedings inside the building before and during Trump’s speech were significantly more dignified and mature? Then please allow me to LOL in your face.

More than an hour before the headliner stepped onto to the podium, Harrisburg Republican Earl Phillip (director of the N.C. campaign for Trump) led chants such as “Romney Sucks!!” and the Hillary Clinton-targeted “Lock Her Up!!”

Yes, they fired up the crowd; no, they weren’t much more sophisticated than the types of chants you might hear at a college fraternity party while a pledge is doing a keg stand.

Then, of course, you have The Donald himself.

I am not telling you anything that you don’t already know when I tell you that the man can at times be a bully.

That’s not an indictment of his political policy; it’s a fact. I mean, I think that’s one of the things his many supporters love so much about Trump: He doesn’t take you-know-what, and he can respond to criticism with an insult as well as anyone in politics.

And so when yet another protester gets bounced out midway through his speech, Trump gets a glimpse at the young man, notices his baby-face, and goes on the offensive.

“Looks like a nice little guy actually,” Trump says, flashing his Cheshire Cat grin. Then, the closeted WWE wrestler comes out when the protester gives him the evil eye: “Bye!” Trump sings as three uniforms show him the back door. “Go home to Mommy! Let her tuck you in bed!”

The crowd roars in approval, as loudly as it has all afternoon.

A few minutes later, the protesters are at it again, so Trump is at it again. The woman stumbles slightly as she’s led away by the police. He pounces.

“Are you OK, honey? Don’t fall!” he says, sarcasm dripping from his tongue. Then: “Oh, the protester just tripped! They’re gonna blame us! They’re gonna blame Trump! … You know what she’ll do? She’ll sue the building now on the basis that the floors are too slippery!”

My brain cannot yet envision what the world would be like with Donald J. Trump – who barely a year ago was just a billionaire former reality TV star with a mysterious head of hair – as president of the United States of America.

But on Monday in Concord, I certainly could imagine what it would feel like to be back in high school again. Or middle school, even.

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes

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