Portland State students supporting Donald Trump for U.S. President attempted to host their first planning meeting tonight. Instead, Trump supporters found themselves in the midst of protesters holding banners from various groups representing students of color and movements like 15 Now and Disarm PSU.
The meeting escalated after about 40 minutes to shouting, interruptions, name-calling and threats. Threats came mostly from some of the students protesting against the Trump organizers.
“Every single Trump supporter has a full legal name attached to a social security number with a place of residence, [and] an employer…that information is easy to find online,” said one protester. The same protester jumped on a table and was in a near-fight with Students for Trump organizer Stephen Johnston after being called an “Anti-faggot.”
At one point, a small group of protesters shoved two of the student Trump supporters as they tried to walk through the crowd. A protester grabbed a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hat off a supporter’s head and tossed it across the room.
Protesters took over the attempted meeting using the mic check method—mostly instigated by PSU Student Union organizers Olivia Pace and Alyssa Pagan. After a short time, protesters held the floor and organized a speakers list, while Trump supporters sat at a table in the center of the Smith Memorial Student Union cafeteria.
After an hour and a half, most of the Trump supporters had left the original meeting table and moved to several heated discussions off to the side of the cafeteria. Protesters followed the Trump supporters back and forth across the cafeteria for about two hours.
One anti-Trump student tried to shake hands with a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. He refused and said “No, I can’t. We’re enemies.” He gestured using air quotes on the word enemies.
PSU Students for Donald Trump organizer Volodymyr Kolychev said he expected the meeting to be protested, suggesting that he and fellow organizer Johnston had hoped this would happen.
“This was just bait,” Kolychev said. He went on to say he had hoped to garner attention and shed light on student protesters and their tactics that he disagrees with.
When asked if any if any of the protests or stories he heard this evening had any effect on his views, Kolychev said, “Are you asking if I still support Trump? More so.”
In the end, Kolychev and Johnston had a sign-up sheet with 22 Trump supporters, while the total number of protesters peaked at about 45.
Watch for the Vanguard’s extended coverage of the protests and future plans for PSU Students for Donald Trump.