Supporters of Donald Trump flocked from miles around to hear the 45th president speak at the Montgomery County fairgrounds Saturday evening. Big name politicians and statewide officials were invited to give genuflecting speeches before the former president. However, apparently not welcome at the event: supporters of Governor Greg Abbott’s Republican primary challenger Don Huffines.
Video taken by a rally attendee and posted to Twitter shows bouncers escorting two men wearing Huffines for Governor shirts off the bleachers.
The Texas Citizen Journal has identified one of the Huffines supporters as Jordan Brown, a Republican activist affiliated with the Huffines campaign’s Spring field office. The Texas Citizen Journal spoke to Brown about the incident in an exclusive interview.
According to Brown, he reserved tickets and arrived to the rally early, finding a seat on the bleachers behind the podium around the time Attorney General Ken Paxton started speaking, about an hour and a half before Abbott took the stage. Brown was wearing a Huffines shirt and holding up another. A Huffines staffer and an approximately 80 year old man seated near Brown were also wearing Huffines shirts.
Brown told the Texas Citizen Journal that he participated in some of the crowd’s raucous chants that are a hallmark of Trump rallies, including the ubiquitous refrain of, “fix 2020”, that was shouted by the audience at several points during the rally.
Brown said that no one objected to his Huffines shirt or asked him to leave until Abbott came on stage. “It was only during Abbott’s speech when it was a problem, leading me to believe it was Abbott’s people who pushed it,” said Brown.
Upon taking the podium, Abbott was greeted with a mixture of cheering and booing from the audience. Brown, who told the Texas Citizen Journal that Abbott is a “RINO”, said he booed Abbott and shouted, “Secure the border.”
While Abbott was speaking, Brown said he was confronted by Justin Corbin, one of the event’s organizers. Corbin told Brown that he needed to sit down or else he would be required to leave the bleachers, and Brown then complied. Corbin told Brown he did not have to leave as long as he remained seated.
Shortly afterwards, another event bouncer approached Brown and told him to leave. “He said, ‘You’re out of here, we’ve got to get you out of here,'” recounted Brown. Brown and another man wearing a Huffines shirt were then escorted off the bleachers and directed to the very back of the rally, which was attended by approximately 58,000 people.
“I’m a lifelong Republican who attended a public rally where I exercised my First Amendment right to criticize our sitting governor and was told to leave for doing so,” said Brown. “I followed the instructions given to me, sat down when I was told, but was still told to leave. This is a perfect representation of Abbott’s tenure as governor as a whole: say one thing and do another. Claim to support religious freedom, then shuts our churches down during Covid. Claim to support election integrity, but won’t do a full forensic audit of 2020. Claim to be pro free speech, then when someone practices that free speech he gets booted from your speech. Par for the course from Abbott.”
Huffines is a businessman and former state senator from Dallas who is challenging Abbott from the right in the 2022 Republican primary. Despite Abbott being endorsed by Trump, dozens of Huffines shirts could be seen in the audience, as well as shirts for Abbott’s other primary opponents, Allen West and Chad Prather. Many activists on the hard right have expressed their disappointment in Trump’s endorsement of Abbott.
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