A tone of radical change, frustration and victory resonated through the Sun Devil Fitness Complex Thursday afternoon as Donald Trump Jr. campaigned for his father.
This event comes just one week after Michelle Obama was the final of three liberal surrogates who recently visited Arizona.
The rally was opened with brief remarks from local Republican voices, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who spoke about standing by Trump since the beginning of his campaign, and the strength of what many Republicans call "the silent majority."
“I stood next to him for the last 16 months, and I still do,” Arpaio said.
The sheriff, who was recently charged with criminal contempt, was uncharacteristically silent on his hallmark issue of immigration.
The roar of the crowd, chanting familiar phrases, such as “Lock her up, build the wall and (the) USA,” met Donald Trump Jr. as he took the stage.
He said the atmosphere on college campuses is overwhelmingly liberal and claimed that the turnout at his rally was much larger than that of Chelsea Clinton's rally.
“Today on college campuses, they want everyone to look different but think the same,” Trump said. “This is a conservative safe space.”
He also stressed each candidates' ability to create jobs.
“We need someone who is talking about job creation who has actually created a job,” he said. “Hillary said she would bring 200,000 jobs to New York as a senator, but when she left it was -8,000.”
Trump spoke for about 10 minutes, and invited supporters to see Trump in Arizona this Saturday before leaving the stage.
Democratic Precinct Committeeman and public policy junior Jimmy Arwood said he attended the rally to see who was supporting the other side.
“I wanted to hear out the other side and know who the people were who were supporting him,” he said. “I was disappointed; I was hoping to hear a little bit more about policy or shared values.”
He also thought Trump mischaracterized college campuses as being too liberal.
“He talked about how colleges were liberal die-hard places,” he said. “What colleges want to discourage is violence.”
Shortly after the event was over, clashes between protesters and supporters broke out in front of the gym.
Brief rally ends with call to vote, protestors show down outside rally @statepress pic.twitter.com/X861oDHZNT— Isaac Windes (@isaacwindeschef) October 27, 2016
Noah Briggs, the chair of student activist organization students for democratic society, led the anti-Trump protesters.
“We wanted to show that students don’t support Trump,” Briggs said. “We had a really good turnout.”
On the other side of the police-divided protest zone was a sign that read “Young Democrats for Donald Trump."
Wesley Alexander, a business sophomore and former Bernie Sanders supporter, said he was for Trump because of the rigged system.
“I am a Young Democrat for Trump,” Alexander said. “I started supporting Trump because Hillary Clinton rigged the primaries.”
Alexander said that Trump is the last chance for America, though he may not win.
“Everyone on the bottom is about to get steamrolled by the establishment, by the billionaire class,” he said. “And Donald Trump might not even win, but he’s our last chance.”
However, Austin Marshall, the president of Young Democrats said that Trump Jr.'s visit is a sign of desperation.
“Sending Trump Jr. and Trump out here on Saturday shows that they are scared to lose Arizona,” Marshall said. "You see the leads that Clinton has over Trump, they are obviously very scared.”
Marshall said that Trump had many issues, and to focus on one wouldn't represent him fully.
“It doesn’t work to look at each issue individually," he said. "You have to look at his racist policies, his policies against women — it's not just one thing, you have to look at it holistically."
Marshall also said the turnout really was greater Chelsea Clinton event, in which approximately 700 people were in attendance. Meanwhile, the turnout for Trump Jr.'s event was between two and 300 people.
Kevin Calabrese, the president of ASU College Republicans said that they worked with Turning Point USA and the Maricopa Republican Party to put on the event.
“Our main goal here was to bring Donald Trump Jr. out to campus and give the student body an opportunity to see him in person," Calabrese said. "It was really to energize voters to go get out the vote.”
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