By Malcom Chakery
Thursday night I attended the Donald Trump rally in Dallas. Around 3,000 were reportedly in attendance, with at least hundreds more being turned away after Gilly’s South Side Ballroom was full.
“We’ll get a bigger venue next time,” the presumptive Republican nominee said as he took the stage.
During Trump’s nearly hour-long speech, he talked about defending the Second Amendment in light of the Orlando tragedy, and called out the “weakness” current leadership displayed in their response. He promised to create more jobs, and criticized Hillary Clinton for accepting money from countries like Saudi Arabia “where they enslave women” and “throw [gays] off buildings.”
But from my perspective, there were two real rock stars from Thursday’s Trump Rally—the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and Tarrant County Commissioner (Precinct 2) Andy Nguyen.
The police presence was positive, and definitely noticed. They lined the streets on all sides of the building, in everything from squad cars, to mounted patrol, to motorcycle and bike patrol.
In an especially heated election year, it’s easy for highly attended events like political rallies to get out of hand, especially when protesters are involved. We hear stories about it in the news all the time.
There was a small pocket of protestors at the rally. But DPD handled it well. There was no major violence from protestors or attendees. And thanks to DPD’s strong presence, I can say that I for one felt completely safe.
So kudos to the DPD. Your service is appreciated!
Second, I have to say that Andy Nguyen stole the show. Nguyen is a Tarrant County’s first Asian commissioner and the President of the Texas Asian Republican Assembly (TARA). Most importantly, he’s someone that I see as a perfect example of the American dream.
As Nguyen shared in his speech preceding Trump’s address, he is a refugee from Vietnam who came to America as a teenager with his family to escape a “liberal left policy.” Coming to America the legal way, Nguyen joined the Kentucky National Guard and was later commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.
Nguyen’s speech was stirring and heartfelt.
“I know the tremendous pain of losing freedom,” he told the crowd, explaining how his father was sent to a labor camp after Saigon fell in 1975.
“…We came because we wanted to be Americans, he continued. “We wanted to be safe under the protection of the rules of law. We wanted to be free.”
After criticizing the “timid” leadership of President Obama and Hillary Clinton in the face of enemies like radical Islam, Nguyen said that like the rally attendees, he supports legal immigration, but that the system is broken.
“I personally know people, people from my own family, who have been on the legal immigration waiting list for almost a decade,” he said. “Yet, with a pen, President Obama made five million undocumented immigrants legal, bringing them to the front of the line and getting them through the front door.”
“If it is not ok for people to skip the check-out line at the grocery stores, why is it acceptable for people to skip the legal immigration waiting line?” He asked.
According to Nguyen, it isn’t just “partisan politics” that are at stake this November—it’s “America herself.”
But Americans like Andy Nguyen give me hope, and I’m proud to call him a fellow Texan.