The Mother Of All Rallies (MOAR), a grassroots movement in support of President Donald Trump, held its second annual rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
Organizers hoped to send the message to both Congress and the media that MOAR stands united to preserve, protect and celebrate the American values in the Constitution, national anthem and Make America Great Again (MAGA) agenda. Despite the rain, hundreds of people showed up.
The event’s speakers and booths featured veterans, military personnel and first responders. Many speakers addressed issues facing the U.S. and proposed ways to “embrace [and] honor the next generation of young Americans.”
Roger Stone, Trump’s informal adviser, spoke at the event. Stone was named by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He has denied these charges and, according to Stone, forensic evidence shows that no one hacked the Democratic National Convention (DNC).
Stone, however, alluded to a Russian nuclear agency’s purchase of Uranium One, a Canadian company whose donors gave $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.
“My friends, there was Russian collusion in the 2016 election. There was a candidate whose top aides were making millions and millions from the oligarchs associated with Vladimir Putin. There was a candidate who got $145 million from the Russian energy company... and that candidate was Hillary Rotten Clinton,” he said.
Demonstrators chanted “Lock her up!” in response.
Though sophomore Rachel Juieng identifies as liberal, she attended the rally because she was curious to see who would show up in support of Donald Trump. She was surprised by the diversity of the attendees, though she wished more students from Hopkins and other universities had been there.
Juieng questioned the efficacy of MOAR 2018.
“I think rallies are silly in general,” she said. “A bunch of people with speakers shouting in the middle of a lawn is not going to get that much done.”
According to the rally’s Facebook page, organizers invited “all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age or political affiliation.” The MOAR website indicated that radicals on either side of the political spectrum and violent activists were not welcome.
However, Roger Stone arrived with members of the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group due to their misogynistic and Islamophobic rhetoric.
Shelly Sanders, a constitutionalist from Raleigh, N.C. who works for the Wake County Republican Party, found the rally to be an empowering opportunity for her and other Trump supporters to voice their opinions.
She recounted how, earlier that day, a man refused to give her directions and called her an awful person because she was wearing a MAGA shirt.
“What I’m hoping to accomplish is to understand why the left feels that it’s okay to attack people for their beliefs when I spent eight years under the Obama administration not attacking them. We live in a country that has always known the peaceful passing of power from one president to the next. Besides the Civil Rights Era, I don’t think we’ve ever been in such tumultuous times,” she said.
Sanders also denounced Democrats who would reverse tax cuts, as she believes that they want America to fail. Additionally, Sanders said that she believes a lack of congressional term limits is a bipartisan problem.
However, Casey Burgat, who works for nonprofit public policy organization The Brookings Institution, explained in an email to The News-Letter that a term-limit amendment would do little to curtail corruption in Washington.
“Because the creation of successful public policies by even the most experienced of officials is so difficult and uncertain, we should not mandate that our most effective and seasoned lawmakers be forced out of the institution,” he wrote.
Sanders was unsure of the cause of American political divide but praised the value of conversations with individuals regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.
“You always benefit from listening to people, whether you agree with them or not,” she said.
Elsa Aldeguer, president of Latinos 4 Trump in California, attended the rally and said that she finds that the media misrepresents her. She is a Salvadoran immigrant and former lifelong Democrat who became a Republican after perceiving that, aside from Democrats getting richer, nothing was changing. According to Aldeguer, her organization has over 6,000 members.
“This is an eye opener for the people who think that we do not exist because there’s networks like CNN who report fake news on purpose just to brainwash the American citizens into thinking that we are not there. But we are there, and we’re there in big numbers,” she said. “We needed to come here and let the world know that the fake media does not report the truth... In California, we’re fighting the sanctuary state, which is the [Senate Bill] 54 (SB 54).”
Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 54 in October 2017, “vastly limiting who state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Trump Administration has since sued California.
Although Aldeguer is in favor of building a wall at the Mexico-U.S. border, which she alleged has caused Univision and Telemundo to falsely portray her as a white supremacist, she clarified that she does want to help immigrants, just those who have not committed any crimes.
“I have friends that are illegals; they are not criminals, and SB 54 does nothing for them,” she said. “It’s about making California a sanctuary state, but it doesn’t help the DREAMers, it doesn’t help the children, it doesn’t help anyone but the criminal illegals. We just want to make sure that people know that there’s a difference.”
Aldeguer blamed Democrats for family separation at the border, arguing that Trump needed Democrats to vote but that they wouldn’t because they want open borders. She did, however, credit Trump with low unemployment rates for African Americans and Latinos.
Melik Abdul, the national communications director and special assistant to president for the millennial-led Black Conservative Federation (BCF), said that he was pleased with the progress African Americans have made since Trump’s inauguration, such as closing the gap between white and black communities.
Michael Moura works with Resist Marxism, a conservative and libertarian group from Boston whose mission is to “defend the Constitution against violent extremists and the left.”
He applauded Aldeguer, Abdul and other members of minority groups for publicly supporting the president given the mainstream narrative that the Trump Administration’s policies are racist.
A free-market anarchist who goes by “the Joker,” said that he was at the rally to protest violence.
“A lot of people say they want peace, they want love, they want acceptance, but they’re doing the exact opposite. The ‘anti-fascist’ individuals are being very fascist individuals,” he said. “I don’t like the fact that everyone’s trying to make... a civil war in this country. We can be civilized. We can sort this out diplomatically. That’s the whole purpose of MOAR.”
The Joker, who said that he has had trouble finding work as an animator because he is not a flag-burning Trump critic, also hoped to protest the excessive mixing of art with politics. He voiced that he thought that art should imitate life and not vice versa.
Registered Democrat Terra Synn, whom the Joker met online, echoed these sentiments.
Synne expressed that she was at the rally to oppose what she deemed social justice warriors’ erosion of comic books and animated film and televisions.
She believes that, for the last 15 years or more, certain artists and members of the LGBTQ community have, instead of making new art, distorted classical characters and ventured too far into the political arena.
“It’s one thing to help people understand the politics going on. It’s another to push the politics,” she said.
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, Terra Synn’s name was misspelled.
Quotes attributed to Casey Burgat are from a Brookings Institute article, not an email to The News-Letter.