Trump Train rolls into town; brings merchants, differing opinions

The Trump Train, parked across the street from the U.S. Cellular Civic Center was a big draw for Trump supporters. Photo by Dan Hesse

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a campaign stop in Asheville on Monday, Sept. 12. The event drew large crowds of supporters and protesters. Xpress talked with a variety of people on the scene during the event.

Right on time – The Trump Train rolls into Asheville

Chuck McAllister takes The Trump Train to campaign events across North Carolina. He says he'll be working campaign events through November. Photo by Dan Hesse
Chuck McAllister takes The Trump Train to campaign events across North Carolina. He says he’ll be working campaign events through November. Photo by Dan Hesse

Chuck McAllister will be the first to tell you that The Trump Train is a conversation starter. McAllister parked The Trump Train, a donated RV he owns and operates, across from the U.S. Cellular Civic Center and watched as people took pictures, protested and more.

“We have some lovers and some haters, but it goes with the territory,” he said.

McAllister said they were a bit worried about rolling into Asheville. “It’s less hostile than I thought. We came up thinking there was going to be a lot more negativity toward us but, it’s not that bad at all,” he remarked. “I’ve seen it a lot worse for Hillary [Clinton] than what we’re seeing here in Asheville, and Asheville isn’t necessarily Trump territory.”

McAllister said he takes The Trump Train to campaign stops for various Republican candidates across the state. He’s self-employed and taking time away from his business to campaign full-time, noting he’ll be going, “Right ’till November. Every day, every day.”

McAllister said he’s glad to live in America where we have the right to vote, but he believes there is a clear choice come November. “Mr. Trump, and the people around him. Not even so much Mr. Trump, sometimes. In the past, you know, he’s kinda got a bit off. We all know that, even the people that love him. But I think the people surrounding and supporting him give us a better long-term opportunity. Our next couple of generations really need it,” he said.

A tale of two merchants

Daniel Richards said Trump's Asheville stop will be the last Trump event he sells merchandise at. He said he believes Clinton campaign events are friendlier to independent merchants. Photo by Dan Hesse
Daniel Richards said Trump’s Asheville stop will be the last Trump event he sells merchandise at. He said he believes Clinton campaign events are friendlier to independent merchants. Photo by Dan Hesse

When Xpress asked to talk with Daniel Richards, he was in the midst of packing up his table of shirts, hats and buttons, but said, “I’ll tell you what you want to hear.” Richards, an Illinois resident working his eighth presidential campaign, said the police had just cracked down on his operation and he was figuring out his next move. “This is how I supplement and feed my family. I’m a disabled veteran and I get no help from the government. I get no help from the VA. And every four years I sell buttons on the presidential campaign,” he said.

“Trump is coming out and using his influence to have all these independent vendors closed down. That’s anti-small business. He says he’s for American jobs, small business, veterans and the disabled… then why’s he got the Asheville Police coming around closing all the vendors?” Richards said while using one arm to move merchandise from his display to a nearby vehicle.

Richards said Trump loved having street vendors outfitting crowds with his merchandise until he secured the Republican nomination for president. After that, Richards said, the attitude toward vendors changed. “He’s got the official store inside now and he’s trying to put all of us out of business, saying that we can’t sell at the events,” Richards said. “Yeah, a lot of us are not official vendors, so to speak, but we invest our own time and money to be out here. The last seven events we’ve been to, the little guy gets pushed out. But the corporate raiders inside are allowed to sell, and they come around with the police and point us all out and say, ‘These guys aren’t official.’”

“This is America and it’s built on small business. I say, ‘Donald Trump, let the people work.’”

Richards said the hassle in Asheville was his last straw trying to move Trump merchandise. “I’m gonna sell on the blow off. Gonna sell it all out and then I’ll be out of the Trump business. I’m done,” he said. “When we work a Clinton event, we can work all day long and nobody bothers us. They want us to be there. Every city.”

After the rally Xpress saw Richards walking through the crowd of protesters selling Clinton paraphernalia.

Angel Hill, merchandise vendor and Trump supporter, said she's "Making so much money." Photo by Dan Hesse
Angel Hill, merchandise vendor and Trump supporter, said she’s “Making so much money.” Photo by Dan Hesse

Florida resident Angel Hill is new to the campaign circuit merchandise game, but says it’s one she’s already fallen in love with. Four months in she said, “It’s totally awesome. Everyday we’re in a different city. You get to meet all kinds of people, hear their opinions.”

Hill says sales in Asheville were brisk, if not slower than previous cities, but said it was to be expected. “The last city we were in, people told us if we come to Asheville some of the people are not as happy about Trump as others,” she noted. “Yeah, Asheville seems to be a little different than most other places.”

Hill said law enforcement had been cracking down on her and she had moved about three times already, but she said that’s part of the game: “You know what, even if the police don’t bother you, that happens anyway. We try to move where the people are.”

Hill said it’s all part of the excitement that draws her to this line of work, among other things. “Besides the fact I’m making so much money, this is the best job I’ve ever had. I like to get up and go, my kids are all grown, so this is exciting for me. It’s the perfect job,” she said.

As for her political views, she said she’s definitely a Trump supporter. “He’s got me excited about making America great again, although I don’t even really think he can. I think America’s great already, but I don’t like globalization. And I think Trump will keep American jobs here.”

As Xpress left Hill, she happily greeted two young Trump supporters, one of them with a Confederate flag worn like a cape, and talked them into buying some merchandise.

Voices from the floor

Moments before Trump appeared on stage the crowd cheered and chanted. Photo by Dan Hesse
Moments before Trump appeared on stage the crowd cheered and chanted. Photo by Dan Hesse

Xpress talked with people inside the rally to get their thoughts on the event and what drew them to see Trump in person.

Aaron Dyson, high school student from Hendersonville
On why he attended:
“It matters. You’re voting for President of the United States, you need to be involved. When Trump started running that’s when I really got drawn into it.”
On younger people getting involved with politics:
“Not only with Trump, but Bernie Sanders did a fantastic job of getting young people involved, even more so than [Barack] Obama and [Mitt] Romney. And more young people need to be involved. This is important.”

Chris, Hendersonville resident
On why he attended:
“It feels historical to be here. I feel part of something big. Something like a revolution.”
On Trump’s momentum:
“I think this is kind of like Obama, but on the other side. The people that were outraged and felt like they were losing eight years ago are now here and feel like they’re winning. This is bigger than conservatism. This is about saving the country from liberal policies.”

, Waynesville resident
On why she’s supporting Trump:
“I’m upset with our current government. I’m upset with corruption. I’m upset with Obama-care. I’m a registered nurse and it’s made my life a living hell for eight years. I’m ready to see some changes there. We’ve got to get control of health care.

Jorge Garcia, Asheville resident
On why he attended:
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The media makes him look like he’s a bad person, but we don’t know. We’ve never seen him one-on-one. He might make some points that the media tries to cover up.”
On the issue that’s important to him:
“I want to hear what he has to say about our homeless veterans. We have veterans that come back from Afghanistan, they’re wounded and don’t have benefits. I hope he gets the VA to get them more money.”

Nick Taylor, Asheville resident
On why he’s attending:
“I’m trying to see what all the frenzy is about and how Asheville reacts to it. I’m also here to see how the people of Asheville, who support Trump, are going to come awake here in this room as opposed to the streets. When I’m on the streets I never hear anything positive about Trump. It’s like everybody in that category of conservative, or alternative-right, are completely hushed about it.”



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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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13 thoughts on “Trump Train rolls into town; brings merchants, differing opinions

  1. WAVL

    Apparently, Obamacare started to make Melinda’s life as a registered nurse a “living hell” two years before it existed. That’s some bad stuff!

    • Justsayin'

      I have a feeling her life has been a living hell for more than 8 years. Just sayin’

  2. Karl Denninger

    And here you go…Hillary and Parkinson’s…HRC is medically unfit to even operate a motor vehicle, or baby-sit her grandchild let alone serve in any on-call position of responsibility.

    Let’s just use basic logic and the “explanations” of the Clinton campaign become ridiculous, without merit, and created with malice aforethought toward the electorate.

    Ever had a serious infection? Like pneumonia? How do you “recover” nearly-completely in less than two hours after suffering what is clearly a public event of catatonia and near-complete collapse?

    You don’t.

    But what if you have a neurological deficit that is serious, progressive but able to be — sometimes — controlled with medication and only produces visible deficit sometimes?

    Then you could have such a “collapse” and yet an hour later be visibly “fine.”

    But that’s not pneumonia, nor is it severe dehydration and heat intolerance. Indeed, if you were believed to actually be suffering from heatstroke and severe dehydration to a degree sufficient to cause you to collapse, especially if you had been diagnosed a few days earlier with pneumonia (which I remind you is a compromise of the lungs and thus your ability to exchange oxygen and CO2) it would quite-arguably be attempted manslaughter to fail to take you directly to the nearest ER. Hillary was not taken to ANY ER; she was taken to Chelsea’s apartment. The only rational explanation for that is that her detail and staff knew she was neither dehydrated nor suffering heat exhaustion and thus was at no risk of imminent respiratory collapse.

    This of course means that they lied to the media (and you, the voters) — again.

    Were a neurological deficit that person suffered to be temporary due to an injury or similar then it would not necessarily be disqualifying for a public office — including that of President.

    But Parkinson’s is not temporary, it is a chronic, permanent once contracted and progressively destructive neurological condition that cannot be controlled on a long-term or permanent basis.

    The drug used to control Parkinson’s, in addition, has serious long-term side effects and loses effectiveness over time.

    But the most-serious aspect of a neurological disorder like Parkinson’s is that the sufferer has no real control over when and where they will suffer the deficits it brings. This was on display on 9/11 at the memorial; certainly Hillary would not choose such a moment to suffer the outward evidence of a neurological deficit, as that particular moment in time would be one where such a deficit would effectively end her campaign, and she knows it.

    Yet that is exactly what happened anyway, when she had full knowledge in advance of the risk and thus would choose to medicate to the best of her ability to mitigate the potential for harm.

    Despite this, she failed.

    Unfortunately a President, in the discharge of their office, gets no such warning. Serious world events happen without warning and without notice. A President must be available on a neurological basis without prior warning, 24 hours a day in order to be able to discharge the responsibilities of the office. To be unfit for this need is a per-se disqualifying condition for the office of President or, for that matter, any other office or responsibility where public safety is involved — such as the “mere” and ordinary task of driving a car!

    Hillary Clinton appears to be incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, say much less discharging the office of President. She has demonstrated same repeatedly on the campaign trail where she has had full warning and notice of potentially adverse and stressful events prior to them happening and yet despite this functional and factual warning in each and every case she has been unable to medicate herself, with medical advice and attendance, to mitigate the deficits she has and avoid its public display, including her recent all-on collapse on 9/11 in NYC.

    Hillary Clinton is unfit to be President of the United States, or, for that matter, to hold any public or other office where performance is required on a no-notice basis because even with full notice and warning she is unable to manage her condition and remain neurologically intact and unimpaired during the time required, even with the best medical attention that our current level of technology can offer.

    It’s that simple folks, and this has exactly nothing to do with your political preference.

    It has to do with the responsibilities of the office and you cannot vote for someone who has proved through multiple episodes during the campaign that they are incapable of discharging same.

    Does the Hillary campaign have a duty to respond to this? IMHO, yes. Specifically, I’d like to see an explanation and exploration of the truth of any such explanation of the email chain disclosed by Wikileaks in which she receives information on the drug Provigil, which is often used off-label for Parkinson’s.

    Folks wake the hell up about the 2-party paradigm and see the reality of what the NWO/globalist-banker oligarchy has been doing and will continue to do to us until the constitutional republic is restored….Hitlery or Drumpf will win and it won’t make an iota of difference because Soros and the oligarchs ultimately are the real winners and its BOHICA for the rest of us debt serfs….WAKE UP!

    • Huhsure

      Wonderful screed built upon nothing but tinfoil-hat conspiracy thinking. You should consider a job in radio, give Alex Jones a run for his money.

    • The Real World

      “Folks wake the hell up about the 2-party paradigm and see the reality of what the NWO/globalist-banker oligarchy has been doing and will continue to do to us until the constitutional republic is restored….Hitlery or Drumpf will win and it won’t make an iota of difference because Soros and the oligarchs ultimately are the real winners and its BOHICA for the rest of us debt serfs….WAKE UP!” —– Yes, yes, yes…you nailed it, Karl. I’ve been trying to communicate the same thing here from time to time. (Never mind the Huhsure-types as you will never reach them. They are utterly closed; no clue whatsoever; brains hijacked long ago.)

      Keep speaking up, Karl. There are some who can be reached. Many, many more are aware today than 5 -7 years ago. But old habits die hard, particularly in this region, so it will take more time and illumination.

      • Karl Denninger

        Nah, just an ADN from ABTech and BSN from WCU…9 years’ experience working at the bedside in a local hospital Neurosciences unit….

        I know what levodopa induced dyskinesia looks like first-hand from several thousand hours’ worth of actual clinical experience…but you are mentally beholden to your 2-party system and don’t let facts get in the way of your belief system…pathetic, but not unexpected from one of the “tolerance/coexist” crowd…got anything else clever to add to the conversation?

  3. Lulz

    LOL, if a disabled vet is getting no help from the government while millions of illegals are, you have a serious problem. Selling out the country and its citizens in pursuit of insanity is not wise.

    • WAVL

      What help are undocumented immigrants getting that isn’t available to disabled vets? Not suggesting we shouldn’t do more for veterans, but I’m confused about the realities of this statement.

  4. Murphy

    Why were the “merchants” allowed to sell at all?

    The buskers in AVL aren’t allowed to sell merchandise – they are harrassed with threats of arrest when they try to share their talents through retail… and told that a permit is required to “sell merchandise” in Asheville.

    Why did the APD make these folks put up their Trump Crap and move along?

    Sure seems like selective enforcement by the local police.

    • boatrocker


      Some merch is more equal than others.

      Money trumps values.

      Remember, it is a verb too.

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