Donald Trump squeezed in a visit to Columbus in between rallies in Florida and Cincinnati. He spoke to an audience of mostly students – a group that typically doesn’t turn out to vote, and when its members do, they often vote Democrat. But this crowd was different.
The crowd of a few hundred, mostly young adult college students, erupted in applause several times, including when the candidate approvingly singled out a man wearing a “Hillary for Prison” t-shirt. Trump talked about jobs, student debt, college costs and taxes and blasted Hillary Clinton. 23 year old Christian Franceschi is a student at Ohio State, and said he likes that Trump is, using his word, “real”. “I know a lot of the people who want to support Trump and are probably going to vote for him – they just don’t publicly show it because it’s not a popular idea," Franceschi said.
Sarah Dougherty is a 20 year old from Cleveland and a student at Ohio University, and said she’s aware of the controversy involving his graphic description of possibly illegal conduct with women. “Sometimes his words are vulgar, but I know he has a good intent for helping our country out, and I know that he’s honest,” said Dougherty.
Anna Gillette is an 18 year old student from Wright State in Dayton, and was in the front row to see Trump. She said she’s not too concerned about her candidate’s comments. “I’m sure a lot of guys say stuff like that, and it was 10 years ago. And he obviously didn’t know he was going to president 10 years ago, so I don’t know. He apologized for it and he regrets saying it,” Gillette said.
Some students said they plan to vote Republican because they’re fiscally conservative but socially liberal. But not all of them. 18 year old Joe Bralley of Newark is a high school student. He said he would prefer if Trump were more conservative, but that he likes that he’s blunt. “He’s a smart man. He’s hardly put as many ads out as Hillary has, but Trump is a household name now,” Bralley said.
While many at the event were decked out with Trump paraphernalia and appeared to be in enthusiastic support, others said they weren’t happy with either major party choice, but that for them Trump is the best choice.