Flashback to October: Every time I see an image of Donald Trump at a campaign rally I flash back to his Richmond visit last October. Below is an excerpt of the story we ran Oct. 15 after his rally.
In the crowd, estimated by Richmond International Raceway Complex staff to be about 5,000, there were clashes. One woman began shouting “black power," which drew a handful of people into a shouting match. Several people were escorted out after the altercation. A few college students heckled the hour-long speech by shouting “dump Trump.” In response, the crowd chanted, “We want Trump.”
Things hit a low when a protester was spit on by someone in the crowd, presumably a supporter, with a video of the incident circulated widely and discussed on national outlets.
The Republican presidential front-runner didn’t seem fazed either way. He tried to calm the crowd after the heckling incidents, mentioning freedom of speech, and noting that he was in “first place everywhere” in the polls.
Trump spoke to the issues of immigration and women’s rights. He promised to build a wall at the Mexican border, with “a big beautiful door” for legal immigrants.
Behind the image: After Trump's speech, I was allowed to jump onstage, which gave me (and other photojournalists) a great vantage point while Trump worked the line. The hands reaching forward and the intensity of the people's attention make the image work. There is connection on many levels, but the near desperation of those reaching for their brush with history creates a compelling image.