I started counting his greats and greatests and incredibles and absolutelies and tremendouses and terrifics. Oh my. What a tremendous, terrific, incredible torrent of hyperbole flowed from that man’s mouth.
Great fun. Not the greatest fun, maybe, but charting rhetorical overkill seemed an amusing way to track Donald Trump’s stream-of-consciousness address — a tangle of disparate thoughts intertwined with strands of previous speeches.
Trump-speak would have presented a mighty challenge back when school kids were required to diagram sentences. At his campaign rally in Sunrise Wednesday, he would meander mid-thought from a campaign talking point to a snarling comment about some grievance administered by his enemies among the Washington elites and the lying media. He would leap, suddenly, without transition, from lambasting crooked Hillary to disparaging fact-twisting reporters to telling the crowd how he knew all along, despite what viewers thought they heard during that television interview with George Stephanopoulos, that the Rooskies were in the Ukraine.
Except for the part about ISIS. That was an outrageous new lie, declaring that “Barack Hussein Obama” — special drawn-out very sinister emphasis on the middle name — had “founded” the terrorist group. With Hillary Clinton as its co-founder.
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My tally had reached seven greats when I was distracted by security guards rousting two young men from their seats a few rows away and leading them back into an arena corridor for interrogation.
Stern-faced men in suits with electronic doohickeys in their ears were particularly concerned with André Zair Silva, whose skin tone and facial features could have been of the Middle East. And you know what that means. At least at a Trump rally.
Except, it turned out that André is of Peruvian descent, born right here in Florida. Plus, he is a Trump enthusiast.
Unhappily, Silva had been sitting next to George Duval, a 24-year-old Florida International University student who was definitely not a Trump fan. “I started booing really hard,” Duval told me.
People started yelling, ‘Go back to your own country.’ You know, I was born in New York.
That upset the Trumpeters in their vicinity. “Everybody around me got freaked out,” said Duval, who is of Puerto Rican descent. “Somebody ran back to find the Secret Service and told on me. People started yelling, ‘Go back to your own country.’ You know, I was born in New York.”
After the cops and security guys interrogated the young men and ran their names through the computers, Silva and Duval were allowed to return to their seats in the arena, where they were two darker-skinned faces in a multitude of grizzled white folk. Broward County may be diverse, but the Broward Trump rally was aged vanilla. Which illustrated the Trump campaign’s big problem appealing to demographics other than your basic disgruntled old white guy.
“Hardly anybody here who looks like me,” observed a young black arena usher (who didn’t want his bosses to read his name in the newspaper). “Hell, you see more black people at a hockey game,” he added, laughing.
Across the way, a few pockets of actual protesters were jeered by the crowd and pelted with soda cups as they were hustled out of the arena.
But in the middle seats was an incongruent cluster of diversity, about 20 black people, all in white matching T-shirts emblazoned with “B.O.S.S.” That would be Brothers of Superior Status, a group vaguely affiliated with the late Miami religious cult leader Yahweh ben Yahweh (convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy charges in 1992). B.O.S.S. lately has embraced Tea Party politics. “We’re here to educate people that Republicans are not racists,” said Seth Israel.
Down a few rows former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley sat in strategic view of the TV cameras. The presence of Foley, who resigned in disgrace after he was accused of sexually propositioning congressional pages in 2006, reverberated through social media just a day after much was made about the father of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen showing up at a Clinton rally. Not that either campaign could do much screening. Hey, the Trump campaign let me in.
Rally organizers revved the crowd with a soundtrack featuring the Rolling Stones and Elton John (despite demands from the artists that Trump stop using their music). As usual, the crowd broke into “Lock her up! Lock her up!” when speakers mentioned Hillary Clinton.
When Trump talked about the lying media, that damn raucous bunch started chanting, “Lock them up. Lock them up.”
But I wasn’t worried. I had come to the rally incognito, cleverly disguised as your basic disgruntled old white guy.
Note to readers: Fred Grimm, a Miami Herald local columnist since 1991, will now write a weekly column for the Herald’s Sunday In Depth section.