President Trump’s visit to Great Falls today also drew protesters. MTPR’s Nicky Ouellet was on the Expo Park grounds where anti-Trump demonstrators were gathered. MTPR News Director Eric Whitney spoke with her as the president was wrapping up his remarks inside.
Eric Whitney: Nicky what’s the scene like where you’re at?
Nicky Ouellet: Right now there’s about 100 protestors behind yellow caution tape and standing maybe 20 feet away from them are people coming out of the Trump rally. A couple guys who didn’t even get in to it who have just been trading words and chanting, as you can hear, with the protestors.
EW: Did a lot of protestors come to the event?
NO: There were at least 200 in the main site. It looked like there were others hanging out where Trump’s motorcade first entered through, but we couldn’t get over there to get a headcount.
EW: Has there been much interaction between the protestors and the people who came to see president Trump?
NO: Yes, especially as people are beginning to leave. The protestors are chanting holding signs, and across from them are a bunch of guys in “Make America Great Again” hats. They’re all kind of yelling chants at each other. Every now and then an individual will approach the line and try to have an actual conversation with one of the protestors, but for the most part it’s just a lot of yelling.
EW: When you say people are trying to have dialogue, is it a tense environment at all, is there a security presence, or is there any actual dialogue happening?
NO: Not a lot of dialogue, it’s pretty tense right now. There’s a line of hired security personnel, three of them, between the line of protestors and pro-Trump supporters. There’s also a SWAT team from the Sheriff’s department that just moved into position, it looks like people are starting to come out of the arena, and they’re kind of anticipating that it might, perhaps, be bad.
EW: The protestors, have they just been there holding signs, or did they have a formal presentation as well?
NO: They did have a short presentation. They had a couple people from the community speak. There was an organizer getting people signed up to vote, or as a volunteer to help Democratic Senator Jon Tester get re-elected. But those remarks were much shorter than initially anticipated, mostly because they couldn’t get a stage space set up, and it was kinda hard to hear the speaker. So they just kept it real short.