WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- On the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made an 11th-hour pitch for votes at Mohegan Sun Arena near Wilkes-Barre.
While the main event was inside, there was plenty of action outside. Trump protesters exchanged jabs with supporters, and then there were plenty of people not too happy about getting shut out.
With the excitement of a pre-concert tailgate, Trump supporters lined up as early as eight hours before his evening appearance.
“Well for starters, it’s the borders for me. I mean the way terrorism is now, the border’s got to be secure and it seems like Donald’s the only one that’s got a plan to do that,” said Doug Weirich of Long Pond.
“Trump’s the man. He’s going to do it. He’s going to change everything. I’m sick and tired of all these politicians lying, stealing. They’re crooks,” said John Bommer of Shamokin.
“I think we’ve had so many political people in office and if that hasn`t been working I think we need to change it up a little bit and I think trump is the answer,” Elizabeth Kulic of Scranton said.
Nearly two hours after the doors opened 4 p.m., there was still a line of people waiting to get in. Supporters started lining up Monday morning. A pumped up crowd wrapped around the arena.
“America needs something other than politics in office. I think he has a lot of good ideas and can boost the economy with his business mind set,” said Nikalino Veno of Scranton.
A group of friends from Shamokin were first in line, arriving just after 10 a.m.
“Trump says it like it is. He says what everybody is thinking and afraid to say, and he can take on the establishment, and he self-funds. He doesn’t take anybody’s money. He’s not corrupt like everybody else,” said John Bommer of Shamokin.
But it wasn’t all love for Trump as protesters exchanged jeers with those in line.
“I feel that I have to confront hatred and racism and what looks to me like war crimes and corporate welfare. I’m here to represent peace and hope,” Kurt Shotko of Pittston said.
“The ideas that Donald Trump has been espousing on the campaign trail. If we don’t stand up to it, who’s going to? Racism, misogyny, sexism, class warfare,” said Joe Biscotto of Scranton.
Doors opened at 4 p.m., giving people three hours to file in, but there were plenty of people still in line who were shut out when the doors closed for the event.
“Disappointing,” said Vince Cianfichi of Moscow. “We got here about 6:30 and I can understand if they have to keep everything safe so we didn’t get in. We were 10 feet away from the door and they said no.”
“It feels terrible because they said to get tickets and then we get tickets and we can’t get in. There’s only like a 150 [people] left,” said Lynn Labrosky of Scranton.
People did need tickets for the event, but that did not guarantee a seat. Admittance was first come first serve.