Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stayed “calm, focused, and determined” as protesters repeatedly tried to disrupt a rally held in Austin, Texas, Tuesday night, one state official said. Protesters appeared to be acting in desperation.
Trump returned to Texas to drive home his message on one of his foundational issues — border security. He picked Texas’ most liberal city and spoke to a crowd of more than 7,000 people. Trump used the venue of the city that prides itself to “Keep Austin Weird” and delivered a passionate but fact-filled, issue-oriented speech about illegal immigration, border security, crime, trade, and agriculture as a matter of national security.
Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) spoke with Breitbart Texas late Tuesday night following Trump’s rally. From his vantage point of sitting right behind Mr. Trump, Bettencourt said there was a lot of chaos going on during the candidate’s speech.
“Despite the distractions, He remained calm, focused, and determined despite the numerous attempts to throw him off,” the Senator said. “The energy level from the supporters was tremendous.”
Trump was interrupted several times during his speech in Austin, just as he was during the Sean Hannity Town Hall held earlier in the day. In one outburst which occurred very close to the speaker’s platform, a woman and a man were removed after an extensive period of harassing shouts, Bettencourt said. The incident lasted for nearly two and one-half minutes as security came in to deal with the protesters. Trump patiently watched from his podium as officers did their work.
“It went on for quite some time,” the Texas state senator said. “They were left to yell and scream for a while.”
After they were escorted out, Bettencourt found “cue cards” the protesters had been reading from that had been dropped on the ground. A photo of those notes appears below. Bettencourt said some of them appeared to have been written by children while others looked more like adult handwriting.
The senator said they were made to appear as if they had come from a middle school project. “It looks like someone was trying to whip-up anti-Trump feelings by making it appear they were children’s comments,” he explained. “Some of the notes looked like children were told what to write.”
In one of the other notes, Bettencourt said the writer noted, “Your generation is messed up.”
He said he was surprised at the level of animosity that was displayed by the numerous protesters. “It smacked of desperation,” he said.
Following one of the disruptions, Trump smiled at the audience and asked, “Is there any place it’s safer to be than a Trump rally — deep in the heart of Texas?”
Trump has made several trips to the historically red Lone Star state during the campaign. His visits began with a trip to Laredo in July 2015. He spoke with Border Patrol agents first-hand. He has returned several times and spoke with very large, energetic crowds at each event. Part two of Sean Hannity’s border security town hall will be televised Wednesday night and will feature Border Patrol agents and others involved in the fight to secure our borders.
Bettencourt continued, “This shows the level of desperation and animosity coming from the left.” He said he believes they are becoming more desperate as Clinton remains unable to extend her lead. “Trump has already rebounded from the bottom and is coming back strong,” he said. “His strong use of the facts on immigration, crime, and the new Clinton scandal revelations brought energy to the crowd and impressed those around me.” He said many, even in Texas, were not really aware of illegal immigration’s impact as Trump laid it out.
During another disruption, one of the protesters expressed himself by giving the finger to Trump or to the audience, a tweet from The Texas Tribune’s Todd Wiseman revealed.
— Aman Batheja (@amanbatheja) August 24, 2016
Bettencourt has been an observer of political campaigns in Texas for decades and said this rally was very exciting because of the energy of the crowd. “You don’t see anything like this in Clinton supporters,” he explained. “Trump’s people are going to vote.”
“Corruption is the issue that puts the most fear into the Clinton campaign,” the senator said. “When Trump detailed the information about the latest Clinton Foundation revelations, you could feel the energy rise in the room.”
Bettencourt said the impact of the border information, crime statistics, the mothers who lost children at the hands of illegal aliens, and all of Clinton’s scandals gave the audience more and more reasons to support Trump’s campaign. “He did an amazing job of delivering a very solid and motivating message.”
The senator said he thought the protesters threw everything they could at Trump and then “he went straight back to his message every time.”