Posted in: Features

Human Too: Trump’s Supporters

By and | February 12, 2016

In “Human Too,” the HPR explores the more personal side of controversial and often underrepresented issues by examining those who support them through a series of photo essays. In this first installment, the HPR looks at attendees of a rally in support of Presidential candidate Donald Trump held Tuesday, 2/2 in Milford, NH. 


A mother puts her arm around her daughter, awaiting Trump’s appearance on stage.

Before the event, some of the event staffers from the area (volunteers at the country club where the rally was being held) were seen trying to give some homemade treats to Trump’s Secret Service escort. Once inside, a volunteer took fresh cookies, all individually wrapped, to each person in the media section.

Kid on shoulders

A boy sits atop his father’s shoulders as they mingle in between speeches.


Two attendees hold hands and laugh while they wait.

The attempted hyping-up of Trump’s entrance seemed to fall flat with the crowd. The campaign played a few songs to the crowd outside of the venue (almost all classics like Eye of the Tiger, Summer of ‘69, and Imagine) but apparently were reluctant to pay for a full online radio license as advertisements split every few songs.


A boy dressed head-to-toe in Trump wear lays his head down in the midst of the nearly two-hour event.


A woman checks her phone while carrying for her baby between speeches—note the sticker on the swaddle.

The rally was held in a set of indoor tennis courts at a country club. Music blared from speakers, beginning in the lines outside and continuing up until Trump made his entrance. And it was an eclectic choice of tunes: John Lennon’s “Imagine,” rockin’ classics like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Eye of the Tiger,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man.” British singer Adele, who has asked Trump not to play her songs, was represented with “Skyfall” and, during Trump’s entrance, “Rollling in the Deep.” The playlist was too short for the wait, though—supporters were treated to “Hey Jude” and the Stones more than a few times—and interestingly enough, there were some radio advertisements between songs.  The oddball in the mix was a rendition of famous aria “Nessun dorma,” which ends, perhaps appropriately for Trump, with a thrice-repeated “I will conquer.”


A boy dressed in a campaign shirt searches for his family after losing them in the crowd.


A man gets a selfie with a Trump impersonator shortly before the event.


Rally attendees say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The pledge was a spectacle; all of the almost 5,000 attending said the pledge in unison. Ann Coulter, who went on to speak that night, stopped in the middle of her national radio spot with well-known conservative talk host Howie Carr to say the pledge into her microphone.


A veteran in a wheelchair smiles at something on the phone of a woman seated on the floor.

In the first few minutes of Trump’s speech, the candidate emphasized support for veterans. Hands shot up when Mr. Trump asked vets to identify themselves and raucous cheers were heard after Trump stated that he would, “take care of our veterans like they’ve never been taken care of before.”


Navy Veteran Robert Kemphis.

Among the crowd was Navy veteran and former submariner Robert Kemphis. We asked what making America great again meant for him, and why he was voting for Trump.  He recounted his days road-tripping across the nation after his discharge. He was thinking of his children and grandchildren, living in his Nebraska hometown, he said. He wanted the country to feel as safe as it did then.

All images credit to Peter Wright/HPR.

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