• WisPolitics


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

 1:06 PM 

Trump backers, protesters largely tame ahead of today's Janesville rally

JANESVILLE -- The road up to the Holiday Inn here is mixed with "Dump Trump" signs and "Make America Great Again" hats. 

Donald Trump, who'll speak here this afternoon, has drawn a largely tame crowd of both protesters and supporters who are separated by barriers. 

About 5,000 people have RSVP'd for the event, though the conference room he'll speak in only holds 1,000, police say.

Abril Lara, a 23-year-old Blackhawk Technical College student, said she's not here to "change any minds [but] to stand up for what I believe in." Lara, who carried a sign saying she's not a rapist or a criminal, called Trump's rhetoric about Mexicans like her "very sad."

"If that's what makes this country great, then this country has nothing," she said.

But Trump supporters such as Zach Schober say the U.S. needs a leader who "says what he means and means what he says."

Schober, a junior at UW-Whitewater studying business and marketing, said Trump knows how to "fix the economy single-handedly" and isn't backed by special interest groups.

"I think he'll bring back jobs, and he's not bought," he said.

Debbie Grundgeiger, a retired small business owner who lives in Black Earth, said political correctness is "screwing up the whole world." 

Heidi Verbeten, a retired social worker from Madison, said amid the "Dump Trump" chants she was always bothered by Trump's rhetoric. But the "last straw," she said, was his retweeting of an unflattering photo of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's wife.

"I believe he's a narcissist," she said. "I don't think he has the temperament or the personality to be president."

Grundgeiger, though, said Trump's female employees haven't come out and said he mistreats them. And, she added, he was always respectful to women on his reality TV show.

"You're not going to find any of them complaining either," she said. 

-- By Polo Rocha




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