By GABRIEL RAMOS, MEAGAN CUTLER, KRISTEN BRYAN, and DYLAN MAYNARD
ATLANTA – Donald Trump’s rally Sunday at the Georgia World Congress Center drew a crowd largely composed of what most people think of conservative Republicans: white, male, Christian, and older.
However, scattered among these were a fair amount of minorities, a surprise given the Republican presidential candidate’s previous comments regarding women, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Donald Trump addresses supporters during a rally in Atlanta. (Photo by Gabriel Ramos)
The minority attendees were diverse, with Asians, African Americans and Hispanics represented. With them came a variety of viewpoints on what mattered most and how Trump would or wouldn’t be able to enact them.
Bianca Shelby, a conservative African American and registered Republican, was proud to be counted among the minorities present, even if she isn’t immediately placing her vote in the Trump ballot box, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) possibly taking it.
“Today I’m at the Trump rally… and then on Saturday I will be going to the rally for Cruz. So, (I’m) just really vetting the candidates,” she said. “I like a lot of the things that Trump says because I am a business owner so I believe in the financial pieces. I may not agree with some of his stances on the other things he talks about but right now I’m just vetting.”
Business owner Bianca Shelby speaks to other Republicans during a Donald Trump rally in Atlanta. She says she’s vetting Trump as a candidate in addition to Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz. (Photo by Gabriel Ramos)
Her husband, Mitchell, said he’s more confident in his vote. A frequent guest host on News and Talk 1380 WAOK – CBS Radio’s “Real Talk with Rashad Richey,” he’s referred to by the show’s host as ‘Conservative Republican Mitchell Shelby,’ a title he wears with a badge of honor as he debates with Richey and others on the issues.
A self-professed conservative since the age of 11, Mitchell, 49, said he’s in support of Trump and Cruz and believes they can win, unlike the rest of the remaining Republican field.
He asserted that being black and Democrat aren’t synonymous, and that it isn’t worthwhile to be both, especially as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) attempt to pull more minority support.
“Say what it is, they’re playing to African Americans,” he said. “Not just minorities, especially with me. And guess what? Democrats have done that for the past 65 years. Told African Americans what they’re gonna get, and guess what they end up getting? Absolutely nothing in return, so I’m not believing one thing that they’re saying.”
Sohum Mehta, whose family originally hails from India, is also a registered Republican. He agreed with Trump’s attitude toward immigration and national defense.
“I think his attitude toward minorities is good,” he says, “and I think that it’s important that people who come to the USA come legally, work hard, and being a minority, it’s very important that we live the American Dream. I think what we also have to learn is that minorities do a lot of the work here, and when they do it legally, and in support of the system, it helps America grow.”
Two African American women address the crowd in preparation for the arrival of Donald Trump at a rally in Atlanta. Minorities of multiple ethnicities came out in support of Trump’s presidential race. (Photo by Gabriel Ramos)
Not all were so strongly built toward Trump. Some attended to gain insight into the candidate’s mindset and the political process.
One such attendee is Lane Williams, who is 25 and African American. Currently unaffiliated with any political party, he said observation is what drove him to come to the rally.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m voting for Trump, but I’m interested in hearing what his policies would be if he were to become the president,” he said. “I’d rather be acquainted with someone than cut them off completely.”
Williams said he doesn’t know enough of Trump’s policies to agree or disagree with them, but is interested in how his business acumen could carry over to the field of politics.
Christine Kim, a Korean American, was in a similar situation, as she said she’s just learning about the process. Her business background is why she felt she’s Republican, and said that Trump’s a great businessman. However, she stated that he’s immature, which keeps him from fully getting her vote.
“It’s just the things that he says in his debates,” she said. “He personally attacks people, and I just don’t think that’s what a presidential candidate should have… I believe in the wall, in building the wall, I believe that we should be a little more strict about immigration, and just making America great again. I just don’t know if the way that he acts will bring us there.”
Trump, for one, didn’t seem so concerned about the ethnicity of his constituents. He spoke of how he won the South Carolina Primary, with no mention of racial demographic.
“We won with everything,” he said. “We won with women, I love the women. We won with men. I’d rather win with women, to be honest with you. We won with evangelicals. We won with the military, and do we love our vets… We won with everything.”