RALEIGH — Hundreds gathered on the Halifax Mall on Aug. 1, despite the brutal heat, to “Back the Blue” and show support for law enforcement. The rally was hosted by Students for Trump as a response to recent anti-police protests and assaults on officers happening around the country. Attendees waved American flags, Trump banners and Blue Lives Matter signs and flags to show their support.
Former NY police officer and TV host John Cardillo was billed to serve as master of ceremonies for the event, however, Chris Hughes of The Chris Hughes show led the event. Headlining speakers included Ryan Fournier, co-chair and founder of Students for Trump, congressional candidate Alan Swain, former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, candidate for N.C. Secretary of State E.C. Sykes, N.C. House candidate Fred Von Canon and candidate for lieutenant governor Mark Robinson.
“Now is the time more than ever to rally behind these men and women in blue who are heroes, who protect our community and serve us each and every day not knowing if they’re going to make it home,” Fournier told the crowd.
Other speakers included Erin Pare, running for NC House against Democrat Sydney Batch and Gadi Adelman, a counterterrorism expert, author and radio host. In his remarks, Adelman, who is a co-founder of Back the Blue NC, announced a second “Back the Blue” event to take place on beginning at 10 a.m. on Aug. 9 in Raleigh on the Bicentennial Plaza.
The crowd was fired up by several of the speakers; however, it was Robinson that had everyone on their feet clapping and cheering after engaging the crowd to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Some people say we live in a racist nation. Let me get this straight — this is not a racist nation,” Robinson said. He later went on to say, such a notion comes from “the pits of Hell.” He also called Black Lives Matter a “Marxist organization” and said it is hypocritical. “They stand here now with us and yell at us and hold up signs against the police. Where were you last night in Chicago and New Orleans and New York and L.A. while our brothers and sisters were being gunned down by gang members?” asked Robinson. “Where were you?” He also asked where Black Lives Matter was when women were going down to Planned Parenthood and “murdering your future.”
“If they were a real organization dedicated to the black community they would be fighting for black lives, and fighting for black lives would mean standing up for fatherless children,” Robinson said.
A few dozen Black Lives Matter protesters also were on hand. Some had signs that read, “Black Lives Matter,” while others contained messages such as, “Defund the police,” and, “F*ck Trump.” One man waved the Communist Chinese flag along with a sign bearing a hammer and sickle, an American flag on fire and the words “Death to America.”
At the close of the event, Back the Blue supporters marched from Halifax Mall to the State Capitol building and back again. Black Lives Matter protesters followed the crowd, yelling curse words and repeating various chants as the crowd walked along.