Trump in Denver: Live-blogging Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and everyone else

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are in town for the Western Conservative Summit today.
12 min. read

Donald Trump addresses the Western Conservative Summit on July 1, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are in town for the Western Conservative Summit today, and there are protests, a planned counter-protest rally featuring Tom Tancredo this afternoon, and of course somebody's built wall. (A protest wall. In Civic Center.)

Stay on this page for updates on the day's events, and follow Erica Meltzer on Twitter for livetweets.

2:30 p.m.: We're done at the Capitol.

But not before a family arrived to protest. (CA)

1:41 p.m.: Laura Wilkerson speaks 

Laura Wilkerson speaks at a pro-Trump rally on the Capitol steps. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Laura Wilkerson speaks as supporters hold up a "Stolen Lives Quilt," which she says is in memory of people killed by undocumented immigrants. Her son Joshua was killed in 2010.

"They get deported three or four times before they come back and they kill someone. Then we pay for them the rest of our lives," she said.

"Donald J. Trump is the only candidate who will navigate us through this time, protecting the rights of U.S. citizens instead of illegal immigrants." (CA)

1:24 p.m. Tancredo says he misses assimilation

"I miss the old America where there was just as much diversity, but it was called assimilation," Tancredo says.

"This is not a race issue." (CA)

1:18 p.m. Tancredo speaks

Tom Tancredo addresses supporters at a pro-Trump rally on the Capitol steps. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Tom Tancredo describes Democratic opposition to Trump as a form of "hate" toward making America great again. (CA)

1:16 p.m. "God Bless America"

Trump supporters sing "God Bless America" before a pro-Trump rally on the Capitol Steps on Friday, July 1, 2016. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

1:09 p.m.: Quiet

The rally hasn't gotten started just yet. There are probably 150-200 people here.

There are a few Vermin Supreme for President protesters preparing for the rally. (CA)

12:55 p.m.: Almost Tancredo time.

Tom Tancredo is the headliner for the pro-Trump rally scheduled for 1 p.m. on the Capitol steps.

12:18 p.m.: Trump out.

12:17 p.m.: Trump has been hitting familiar notes.

Deals, Kerry was wrong on Iran, we shouldn't have gone into Iraq (which did not get cheers, unlike the others), building a wall, the system has been rigged against him.

11:51 a.m.: Trump says he'll win Colorado

Donald Trump mentions this Rasmussen poll saying that he's 4 points ahead of Hillary Clinton, but as Erica pointed out, it's an outlier.

In Colorado, FiveThirtyEight found that Clinton has a 68.5 percent chance of winning Colorado's delegates when it weighted recently conducted polls. (MA)

11:30 a.m.: It's calming down outside

Police in riot gear have left the scene. But not before RTD service in the area was interrupted.

11:27 a.m.: A quick reference to the Colorado Republican Party's delegate selection process

"Colorado sure taught me a lot about politics." He was ahead in the polls and then ... where were the delegates? (EM)

11:23 a.m.: It's Trump time.

11:20 a.m.: Some reading material.

Here's some reading while we wait for Donald Trump: Politico says #NeverTrump is never happening. (EM)

10:56: Tensions are high outside.

Police in riot gear keep demonstrators apart outside the Western Conservative Summit on Friday, July 1, 2016. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Officers have made multiple arrests as fights have broken out between demonstrators.

10:48: Palin out. 

Sarah Palin speaks at the Western Conservative Summit. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Sarah Palin delivered a rousing, alliteration-filled speech to the Western Conservative Summit that ended without actually introducing Donald Trump. It appears he is running late. She heaped praise on Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, who was supposed to introduce her but did not, and thanked Colorado for sharing him with the nation. She made a distasteful gesture as she thanked Colorado Republicans for putting up with what they have to put up with "inside the tent" and said she's glad the tent is getting bigger.

Trump, Palin said, is an unabashed billionaire who respects the working class and will create the conditions for economic prosperity while defeating ISIS, an existential threat to America. She didn't so much call for unity as demand it.

The ballroom is maybe two-thirds full. This is not, by any means, a Trump rally. But those here cheered loudly. (EM)

10:35: Palin calls anti-Trump Republicans rats.

"Do you know who is threatened? Those GOPers who say they will never vote for their party’s nominee." Loud boos from the crowd.

"They use that never hashtag. I just call them Republicans against Trump. Or RAT for short!" Loud cheers.

Then: "At times like this, you cannot be lukewarm. You are either for us or against us and we are going to take our country back." (EM)

10:30: It's on.

10:21 a.m.: INSIDE: Sarah Palin is speaking. 

In introducing Palin, State Rep. Clarice Navarro asks the media in the room to take note: "I am a mom. I am hard-working. I am not wealthy. I am a proud conservative Hispanic woman. And I am ready to make America great again." (EM)

10:19 a.m.: Protesters march in the rain. 

Protesters from Showing Up for Racial Justice march at 15th and California Streets. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Protesters from Showing Up for Racial Justice plan to keep marching: no stopping and hanging out. (CA)

10:08 a.m.: INSIDE: "He is actually bucking the establishment and representing a marginalized group"

Anne Griffith before the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Anne Griffith of Denver runs the Enlighten Foundation, a Christian organization that "walks alongside women to help them find their purpose." The group also works internationally with "oppressed and marginalized women." Wearing a Trump T-shirt, she's the first full-on, enthusiastic supporter I talked to today.

"He is actually bucking the establishment and representing a marginalized group," she said. "He's trying to establish rules for immigration, bringing business back and working for a strong military," she said.

Which marginalized group is that?

"A group of Americans who feel like they have been silenced and cannot speak their values," she said.

What does Griffith think about Trump's more intemperate comments about women and his problem with female voters?

"He's had to be overblown to get where he is now," she said. "Women can stand up for themselves and speak for themselves, and they always have."

"People focus on the small things when we have real issues," she added. (EM)

10:07 a.m.: OUTSIDE: It's starting to rain. 

10:06 a.m.: Not full yet.

9:58 a.m.: About that wall in Civic Center

Over at Civic Center Park, ProgressNow Colorado spent about $1,000 on a nine-foot high, 30 feet long wall made of cardboard boxes in a peaceful protest of Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Jesus Altamirano, a volunteer with Latino Generation, explained, "We're trying to ensure that Donald Trump gets the message that he's not welcome with his messages of vitrol ... our wall represents the exact opposite, we welcome differences." (MA)

9:49 a.m.: INSIDE: Curious to hear Trump for himself rather than through the lens of media.

Burl McEndree of Broomfield is at the Summit with his 13-year-old grandson, Zach Bueno. McEndree said he's curious to hear Trump for himself rather than through the lens of media, but it was Zach who got him to come down. "He's reason I'm down here," he said. "He said, 'Let's go, Grandpa.' "

Burl McEndree and Zach Bueno before the Western Conservative Conference. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Zach wants to ask Trump a question, though his grandfather warned him he almost certainly won't get his chance.

"I want to know what he's going to do about the Mexicans," Zach said. "He said he wants to build a wall, but a lot of them come here to work and we need them to do those jobs. I mean, not all of them. But some of them."

Why does Zach think Trump's rhetoric is so strong? 

"It's all that hype of being on stage, and everyone is cheering," he said. "You don't think about what you're saying."

McEndree, who works in the oil and gas industry, was a Ben Carson fan earlier in the race, and he feels like he'll be "forced" to vote for Trump because Hillary Clinton isn't an acceptable choice to him.

He doesn't like Trump's business history and bankruptcies, but he feels the country still doesn't have the full story on Benghazi.

While he considers himself quite conservative, he would rather have a moderate candidate that would bring the country together.

"People your age think we're way to the right, but I think we're way to the left of life as I knew it to be," he said. "But we also have to get along as a nation."

How does he reconcile that with a vote for Trump?

McEndree purses his mouth, unhappy.

"Everyone tends to shoot their mouth off," he said.


9:40 a.m.: And then there's this.

A Donal Trump supporter waves a flag outside the Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Protester with megaphone: "F--- Donald Trump!"

Woman with Trump flag: "I would love to!" (CA)

9:38 a.m.: How's Trump impacting Colorado politics?

Last night, Erica posted an ad for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents Colorado's 6th District. That district kind of surrounds Denver to the east, and includes the diverse city of Aurora. In the video, a woman describes Coffman as "not like other Republicans," and a diverse group of supporters describe what they like about him.

Erica wrote:

"Coffman is in a tough re-election campaign against Democratic challenger state Sen. Morgan Carroll, and liberal groups, particularly Latino ones, have tried to tie Coffman to Trump.

"Politifact ranked a claim that Coffman is 'with Trump' mostly false." (DB)

9:13: INSIDE: Trump isn't his first choice... but he's voting Trump.

Caleb Reagor awaits the start of the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Caleb Reagor, 18, of Highlands Ranch says he'll be voting for Trump even though he's not his first choice. He originally backed Wisconsin Gov.  Scott Walker before switching his allegiance to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Reagor was a Cruz delegate at the state convention and thoroughly rejects any claim that the process was rigged. Cruz' team was just a lot more organized.

It's his concerns about the Supreme Court that have him backing Trump, much as many liberals who aren't crazy about Hillary Clinton also have their eye on that open seat.

"I feel if Hillary Clinton selects our next Supreme Court justice, we'll lose many of the freedoms we enjoy now," he said. "Many of the things that make America what it is today would go away."

What does he want to hear from Trump today?

"I would like to hear him start acting more presidential," he said. "Like he represents half of our country. Because he does." (EM)

9:07: A little verbal sparring outside.

The clash started when protesters identified a Trump supporter, pictured above gesturing with her hand, across the street. She says she represents veterans. The protesters say Trump is a closet racist. (CA)

8:54: At Civic Center, there's a wall of boxes. 

8:56 a.m.: Awaiting Trump

Mitchell Manley, 17, poses under an iconic red hat before the start of the Western Conervative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

8:41 a.m.: Meanwhile, inside...

8:35 a.m.: Protesters abound. 

Protesters gather at 14th and California Streets near the Western Conservative Summit, taking place at the Colorado Convention Center. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Ian Gaskins, 15, is at the protest with his father. "I don't like that Trump is turning Americans against Americans." (CA)

8:23 a.m.: Early arrivals. 

A steady stream of attendees who paid anywhere from $120 to $600 to be here are streaming into the Mile High Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center to hear Donald Trump and Sarah Palin open the convention. Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m.

More than two hours to go. (EM)

8:01 a.m.: Erica and Kevin are in the ballroom.

The Convention Center ballroom sits ready at 8 a.m. the morning of the first day of the Western Conservative Summit. (Erica Meltzer/Denverite)

Time for a bit more waiting. (DB)

7:27 a.m.: Here's what the day looks like.

Starting at 8 a.m., at Civic Center Park, a coalition of organizations plan to build a nine-foot tall and 30-foot long wall as a protest on Friday.

At 8:30 a.m., an anti-hate speech protest starts at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church and will make its way to the Convention Center.

At 10:30 a.m., Trump is scheduled to speak at the summit, according to event organizers, with Palin to follow. Unless Trump is late, in which case Palin will open for him.

At 1 p.m., there's a Trump rally starring former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.


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