State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Trump comes to PA for "the most important vote"

Written by Mary Wilson and Emily Previti | Apr 22, 2016 5:10 AM

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told a few thousand of his supporters in Harrisburg Thursday to head to the polls next Tuesday with a few friends and cast an historic vote for him.

"You're going to look back in 4 years, in 20 years, in 30 years," said Trump. "You're going to say, 'That was the greatest vote that I ever cast, because when Donald Trump became president of the United States, our country started winning again.'"

In his nearly hour-long remarks at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex, Trump said he's intent on winning the Pennsylvania primary. Prominent Republicans say his performance may not matter much, given the state's many unwed convention delegates, listed on the ballot in such a way as to give voters no idea who they would support.

Franklin & Marshall College's recent poll of likely Pennsylvania voters has Trump ahead of his GOP opponents by double digits. The same poll shows that 46 percent of surveyed Republicans view him favorably.

At least seven protesters were walked out of Trump's event before it ended, and after the business tycoon left the stage, protests intensified outside.

Outside the rally, Trump supporters kept coming, trying to get into the arena, almost until he was walking off stage. At that point, thousands of people were still lined up for about half a mile, down the length of the Farm Show property.

In another, much smaller line were more protestors, about 30 of them with an organization called SURJ: Showing Up for Racial Justice.

One of them was Martin Ventura, a 25-year-old from Philadelphia.

"Islamophobia, racism and hatred - it goes hand-in-hand with the kind of rhetoric we're hearing from the Trump campaign," he said.

SURJ leaders wanted to avoid taunting, using foul language, things like that.

But the exchange escalated, prompting two dozen police officers to square off in the driveway separating the two groups.

The chanting went on for over an hour after Trump stopped talking.

A couple times, the cops had to corral impassioned protestors who spilled into the street.

But there wasn't any physical contact, and no arrests were made.

At one point, the two sides were chanting the same thing: "USA, USA, USA..."

(Editor's note: This post has been updated to include the full content of the story.)



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The line to get into Donald Trump's campaign event. (Tom Downing/WITF)


Check out more photos from the event on WITF's Facebook page.


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