HIDALGO, Texas — Organizers of the three-day We Stand America gathering have been clearly annoyed on Day Two: In an area constructed to accommodate 1000’s of spectators, just a few hundred individuals had proven up.
On a stage within the South Texas border metropolis of Hidalgo, they blamed the lackluster crowd on liberal media and activists, claiming that they maliciously swiped up the free tickets that had been supposed for veterans and regulation enforcement officers to maintain the seats empty.
It was solely the primary conspiracy idea of the day.
Inside minutes, there have been a number of false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. “Not since Hitler himself have we seen evil come throughout the nation,” mentioned Mark Finchem, an Arizona lawmaker who’s operating for secretary of state there. He described Arizona’s present high elections official as each a “demon” and “a plant” (and never the horticultural selection).
‘Don’t poke the mama bears’
The occasion held late final month within the Rio Grande Valley — which featured a parade of conservative stars, together with Ted Nugent and Michael Flynn, Trump’s former nationwide safety adviser — was simply certainly one of many right-wing symposiums and conferences which are taking place throughout the nation on a virtually weekly foundation.
These occasions are one thing akin to non secular revivals, a mixture between protest and social gathering. There’s anger, but additionally celebration. There are tailgate events and barbecues and prayer providers, the threads that make up the social cloth of Trumpism. The conferences illustrate how Trump and his false claims concerning the election have grow to be a tradition as a lot as a trigger.
In Hidalgo, there have been FJB bumper stickers within the car parking zone — JB for Joe Biden, F for an expletive — together with flags proclaiming “Stolen, Rigged, Fraud, Election 2020.” T-shirts learn, “Don’t California My Texas.”
One speaker referred to President Biden as “this freak within the White Home,” including that the “individuals in cost hate you and hate freedom.”
Christie Hutcherson, one of many organizers, described the occasion as nonpolitical, claiming the main focus was on the “humanitarian effort” to save lots of youngsters who have been crossing the border illegally with the assistance of coyotes, as human smugglers are known as within the border area. She claimed, with out proof, that younger youngsters have been being kidnapped and killed for “organ harvesting.”
Ms. Hutcherson, the founding father of Girls Preventing for America, a gaggle that describes a part of its mission as defending values and spreading “biblical fact,” referred to herself as a “mama bear.” Numerous different audio system and attendees embraced the moniker. “Don’t poke the mama bears,” mentioned one lady, who declined to present her title. “We’re fed up and also you’ve messed with the mistaken individuals.”
Republican positive aspects
Republicans have been making inroads in South Texas, a majority-Hispanic area that had been a Democratic stronghold for many years. In 2020, Trump gained Starr County, a rural group alongside the border that he had misplaced again in 2016 by 33 share factors. And whereas Biden gained in different extra populous counties alongside the South Texas border, together with Hidalgo County, many citizens swung sharply toward Trump.
The group on the We Stand America occasions, nonetheless, appeared to have extra out-of-towners than locals and extra white individuals than Hispanic ones. Many attendees flew in from Albuquerque and Phoenix, or drove down from Dallas and Oklahoma Metropolis.
The spotlight of the three days for a lot of of them was a Sunday morning march to the border fence.
Maria Elena Veliz, a resident of close by Edinburg and one of many native conservatives within the crowd on the Sunday protest, sat on a chair on the fringe of the scene. She mentioned she has attended protests at an area abortion clinic weekly for greater than a decade in her personal effort to cease ladies from having abortions.
“I’m not certainly one of these individuals who thinks something you do is true, that we will make excuses for it,” she mentioned. “That’s my No. 1 concern and I’ll do something to assist individuals who agree with me. I’m right here for the unborn and born infants.”
One other lady who declined to present her title as she marched mentioned she was “disgusted by open-border Democrats who don’t care about what is going on to the youngsters.”
The group was accompanied by one man with a military-style rifle strapped throughout his chest. They prayed after they arrived on the fence, in an space close to the Nationwide Butterfly Heart. The middle, the sufferer of right-wing misinformation spreading on-line, had closed down that weekend due to threats and safety considerations.
Protesters prayed to “cease slave buying and selling on our borders.” Some raised their arms within the air. Others held American flags. A number of obtained down on their knees on the dust hill. They usually closed by singing Wonderful Grace.
What to learn
Watching the president
On Politics frequently options work by Instances photographers. On Thursday, Al Drago watched Marine One, the presidential helicopter, arrive at a regional airport in Brandy Station, Va., as President Biden traveled to an event about prescription drug prices. Right here’s the story behind this picture:
The president normally travels with a number of helicopters, partially as a safety measure. Though President Biden sometimes flies on Air Drive One, once we journey to smaller regional airports which are too small to deal with the large aircraft or are shut sufficient to Washington, the presidential envoy will use a sequence of helicopters. Usually, Secret Service, White Home employees and the press pool will fly forward in 4 V-22 Nighthawk Ospreys, operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One. With their large rotating turboprops, they make for fairly the spectacle.
On Thursday, as soon as we had landed following the 20-minute flight from Joint Base Andrews, we lined up towards the sting of the tarmac to seize the president’s arrival on Marine One, which is certainly one of three an identical Sikorsky VH-3D Sea Kings. I observed a little bit of cloud cowl, inflicting the sunshine to alter each few moments. The press pool solid a shadow on the terminal home windows, giving us a glimpse inside.
You aren’t presupposed to know which helicopter the president is using, so I photographed a sequence of pictures as individuals pressed up towards the glass with their cameras and smartphones as Marine One started to method. I joked to a fellow photographer that the small boy in all probability had a greater digicam than me.
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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/11/us/politics/trump-rally-texas.html The Touring Trump Present Involves South Texas