Clinton held a rally at the Coral Springs Gymnasium that included opening remarks by U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson as part of her tour of South Florida.
Among the Trump supporters outside the rally was UM alumnus Bob Kunst, now president of Shalom International and a well-known figure in Miami politics for running for Congress, at one point contesting Schultz. Kunst was standing on the sidewalk by a sign that read “Trump vs. Tramp,” an umbrella in one hand and a smaller “Hillary for Prison” sign in the other.
He said he braved the heavily congested traffic from Miami Beach to Coral Springs and rain to “expose and oppose” Clinton. This stance was on the opposite side of the political spectrum from where Kunst was in 2003: helping launch Clinton’s campaign and traveling to 110 cities to promote her run, a decision he said he now looks back on with disdain. His dislike for the candidate he followed across the country began after she joined President Barack Obama in the White House as Secretary of State.
“I gave her five years of my life, put up with more crap than any human being should ever have to, because she was a liar and a cheat then,” Kunst said. “And it has gotten worse. At least that time she was supporting to keep Jerusalem united. When she got in bed with Obama,” he said, they divided Jerusalem, and gave it “to the very Arabs aligned with Hitler to kill all Jews.”
Trying to right what he considers his past wrongs, Kunst has had a busy year traveling around the nation campaigning against Clinton. His crusade revolves around three words: “Trump vs. Tramp.”
Kunst was a registered Democrat until he voted for the Republican party for the first time in 2008. He said Clinton’s supporters largely ignore their candidate’s flaws, the most grievous of which was her responsibility for the deaths of numerous people because of her policies, he said. Kunst said instead of focusing on what Clinton has done, people are talking about Trump fat-shaming former Miss Universe pageant queen Alicia Machado.
“Nobody wants to talk about that … she’s never been accountable and the Democrats don’t hold her accountable,” Kunst said. “So we are in a very difficult situation and I am here to help expose it.”
When he first started the campaign, he said he received a “phenomenal” response. He said he expected a lot of negativity and is happy that people are shifting their mindsets in favor of Trump.
Rhonda López went to the rally with “Hispanas for Trump” and held a caricature of Clinton in a prison suit, along with a sign that read “Deplorable Women for Trump.”
“We want to let the United States of America know that we need to take our country back again,” López said. “The highest number of people have food stamps right now since the Great Depression. We have to vote for Trump. Trump, Trump, Trump.”
López said she put in work to create the signs and caricature herself, to show how opposed she is to Clinton’s ideals.
“When you are passionate about your candidate and you know that your candidate is the better choice, you will take the time to do this,” López said. “He’s transparent, he doesn’t have a filter, he says what he means, he’s not a pretender and doesn’t sugarcoat what he says.”
At the end of the rally, protesters and supporters lined up to watch Clinton’s motorcade pass by. Clinton waved to her supporters through the window of her black SUV, prompting screams from the crowd.
Aida Spradlin, one of the supporters at the event, praised the fun environment of the full-house rally, but said she also felt the weight of how polarizing this election is, where she said that in this election, she is receiving barrages of opposing supporters berating her for supporting Clinton.
“I’ve been in a lot of campaigns but this one is a bit different. It’s kind of scary, it’s not just liberal or conservative, it’s dark,” Spradlin said. “They had Trump people yelling at us. Can we not come here to support our candidate?”
Another person who said he also felt the brunt of heckles and insults was Edwin Nieto, a gay, Hispanic Trump supporter. Nieto wore a shirt that said “LGBT for Trump,” held the LGBT rainbow flag and an anti-Clinton sign. He said he faced backlash from Democrats for being a Republican member of the LGBT community and supporting Trump.
“I deserve to vote for whoever I want, I am sick of hearing Democrats telling me I should be ashamed of myself because I am gay and I don’t want to vote for Hillary,” he said. “I have no problems with Trump. I did my homework, Trump is the best candidate for this country.”
“We have a momentum and I believe Trump is going to pull it off and the reason why is because everybody is tired, people can’t take it anymore and Hillary is Miss Establishment,” Kunst said. “She really is an awful person … all they are interested in is having a woman in office, well I don’t think Americans are against a woman there, just not this woman. This woman is terrible.”
Kunst reasons for voting for Trump is on his policies for national security and hopes that the next four years would not be anything like the previous eight under the Obama administration. Kunst said he believes Trump can change the pattern of racial division and violence that has flared up under President Obama.
“We are not going for Trump because he’s Republican, I am voting because he’s kicking ass, he’s saying that he’s going to fight back, which appeals to me and the Democratic party is way off the wall,” he said.
Many Clinton supporters were not able to enter the event because the gymnasium was at maximum occupancy by the time she took the stage. Many of them went to the sidewalk outside the event, still wanting to show their support, to find it was already occupied by a large number of Trump supporters.
Scasha Raymonvil was late to the rally and couldn’t enter but decided to join the group of mostly Trump supporters to express her views on Clinton.
“I want to show off that I support Hillary Clinton,” Raymonvil said. “I believe what we need is love, and Hillary can give us that love.”
The situation never escalated into violence among the Clinton and Trump supporters, but engaged in verbal sparring matches while police officers tried to control both crowds.
Rain showers went mostly ignored by both sides as they battled continuously with chants. Shouts of “Lock her up!” “Trump versus Tramp!” and “Police lives matter!” from Trump supporters were met by “Trump is a racist!” “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!” and “Love trumps hate!” from Clinton fans.
Trump supporter Gus Leal, 58, said standing outside the rally in the rain was worth it to oppose Clinton supporters. Leal, who fled from Cuba and came to the United States as a child and now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, said Trump’s economic plans for America are better than those of his “corrupted” opponent.
“Hillary wants to increase taxes, doesn’t care about the middle class, just gets their vote and goes back,” he said.