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Trump rally rocks Asheville
Sunday, 09 October 2016 12:41

From Staff Reports

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump packed his campaign rally with enthusiastic supporters Sept. 12 in downtown Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center.

Trump spoke in front of a full-house crowd of about 7,000 people, according to a City of Asheville estimate. The event lasted about 40 minutes and included an appearance by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

 During his speech, Trump repeatedly addressed Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton’s recent comments that about half of his supporters are “deplorable.” Indeed, Trump even brought a few attendees onto the stage to show that they are decent — perhaps even adorable — people. 

In a surprise to some observers, Trump did not comment on Clinton’s recent health problems, despite in the past frequently suggesting that she is not healthy enough to serve as the president. 

In an unusual twist, those entering and exiting the rally had to walk through a gauntlet of hundreds of people behind baricades near the front doors. Protesters were yelling, holding signs and screaming “bigot” and “racist” at Trump rally attendees who walked past them.

One female protester, with her nailpainted chemical violet and sharpened into long points, kept the middle finger on each hand raised in silent defiance, while another protester nearby shouted at a crowd filing into the arena, “Keep the bigot line moving.”

Regarding the subject of race, Trump addressed Clinton’s Sept. 9 statement that half of Trump’s supporters are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Views clash over refugee resettlement in Buncombe
Sunday, 09 October 2016 12:39

From Staff Reports

A contingent of Asheville Tea Party members attended a meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 20 “to lay out the legitimate concerns and stark facts regarding the security health, and financial risks of refugee resettlement to our area,” the ATP said in an email Sept. 21 sent to its members and the Daily Planet.

However, others spoke in favor of accepting refugees — and the packed chambers erupted into applause after county resident David Brown expressed his strong sentiment favoring their resettlement in Buncombe.

 The applause prompted commissioners’ Chairman David Gantt to admonish, “If you could not clap, I think the meetings go better. We are very tolerant, and everyone has the right to their opinion. If we could just listen.”

The meeting began,  as usual, with a public comment session on any issues the public wished to discuss. Three people then spoke out against the proposed resettlement of refugees from Middle East countries in Buncombe. 

One speaker, citing security and budget issues, said the refugees would be a “drain on county resources.”

Another speaker, Jane Bilello, chairwoman of the Asheville Tea Party, also spoke in favor of keeping refugees out of the county. “Security risks are way too high to accept security from terrorist nations,” she said. “It’s reckless to accept refugees at this time.”

She added, “It’s more practical to send resources to their country of origin.”

At that point, Brown, who noted that he has lived in the county most of his life, said he had not planned to address the commissioners, but felt compelled to offer a different opinion from the other speakers on the refugee issue. 

“I appreciate the people who are concerned about health issues and the budget, but I would like to see our county embrace people who need a home, especially from people suffering from war,” Brown said to applause from the audience, prompting Gantt’s admonition for the crowd to listen and not clap — and thereby show tolerance of differing viewpoints.


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