A crowd of Trump supporters recently gathered near a popular beach in Southern California to show their support for President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election.
Roughly 60 to 80 Trump supporters met on Aug. 3 at the Newport Pier in Newport Beach, California, wearing MAGA hats and holding Trump 2020 and U.S. flags. The event, while largely peaceful, had some heated moments and a small scuffle, which required police intervention.
Stephen Gallina, who co-hosted the rally, told The Epoch Times why he decided to put the event together. Gallina, a nurse, who was a hospital corpsman in the Navy before working for 25 years in an emergency room, said that he organizes events like these on a regular basis.
According to Gallina, a number of conservative activists from around the state were in attendance, especially from Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties.
“What we really want to do is we want to come here to discuss and debate why Trump should be president versus why they might think Trump should not be president, rather than it be acts of violence toward the people that are here to support Trump,” he said.
Gallina explained that a number of Antifa groups had publicly doxed him and other organizers of the event.
“There was Antifa United, and they actually posted my Facebook profile and the four people who are listed as being [organizers] for this event. I don’t take it as a personal threat.”
Gallina said the online group didn’t claim they would cause trouble at the rally. “There were no threats, other than saying we were monsters,” he said.
Gallina hoped the rally, along with others that he and his colleagues have hosted, will help change Orange County’s congressional seats back to Republican.
“Since the whole Orange County area had come up blue, it does not reflect the attitudes or the people of Orange County, because it has always been a conservative county. I myself reside in Riverside County and we were the only red [county] down in Southern California [in 2018] and I was shocked to discover that Orange County became blue. We’re [looking] at these seats that are up for election [to] support the Republicans [to] unseat the Democrats,” he said.
Among the crowd of Trump supporters were individuals of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages. Two of the youngest supporters told The Epoch Times why they were in attendance.
“For me personally, I want to make sure that the 48th [Congressional] district flips back to [Republican],” said Kainoa Vea, a 16-year-old high school student from Huntington Beach. “Right now, it’s controlled by Harley Rouda. I want to get people to come out and vote for Michelle Steel, who’s running against him. I want people to recognize that there are Trump supporters out there. We’re here to love and we’re here to support our president.”
Andy Espinosa, 15, said that it’s important to let people know that many Latinos like himself support the president.
“I’m here to support my president and to show the people that there are Hispanic Trump supporters here and I don’t think I should be ashamed of this or embarrassed of this. Since I live here, of course I support the president and I take pride in it and I just want to show my pride here as an American,” he said.
Leonor Faris, 72, an immigrant from Colombia, said that her support for Trump came from the fact that she came to the United States legally and was upset that many illegal aliens take advantage of government programs that she never had access to.
“I came here legally, so for me to come here legally, I had to file papers and take all my records from my country. I worked and never collected welfare. I did what I could as an American. I came to love the United States because it gave me an opportunity to be free and have freedom of speech. I worked very hard to support my kids and to teach them that this is the best country in the world,” Faris said.
While many passersby expressed support for the attendees of the rally, not all were appreciative of the event.
David, a Newport Beach resident and Republican who doesn’t support the president, told The Epoch Times why he confronted participants of the rally. “I find it offensive that they’re here. I think Trump is un-American, he’s an ego maniac, and he’s a racist. These people have to be ignorant to support him, to not see that.”
David said he voted Democrat in the 2018 midterms and intends to do so again. In regards to the 2020 presidential election, he said he would vote for anyone other than Trump.
Catherine Wilbourne, a Costa Mesa resident and an Elizabeth Warren supporter also expressed her discontent with the event.
“For me personally, when I see Trump rallies, it just incites something inside me where I feel that it is racist in orientation and I feel like we can’t stand for it because it’s hateful.”
When asked about what she thought of the sizable number of ethnic minorities in the pro-Trump crowd, Wilbourne couldn’t think of a reason why they would be there. “I guess they have their reasons, and to be honest I don’t exactly know what those reasons are. If they are minorities and they support Trump, I guess they see something in him that I guess we don’t see.”
A police presence at the rally was requested by Gallina and his colleagues to ensure that there were no issues. Roughly four to six officers were present at any given time during the event.
One of the organizers, Matthew Woods, utilized a speaker system during the rally. At around 4:30 p.m., a scuffle ensued after a passerby grabbed a microphone and shouted obscenities at the Trump supporters. Another passerby became angry at the man and shoved him.
The scuffle was broken up before it became a fight. The police requested that the speaker system be shut down in order to prevent any further incidents.
However, Woods refused to shut his speaker system down after multiple requests from the police. Eventually the officers unplugged the system and gave Woods a citation. No one was arrested. The event continued without a sound system, and no further trouble arose.
Gallina told The Epoch Times that the event was part of a larger series of rallies that will continue into the 2020 election season. He said it’s designed to spark political debate and civil discourse.