Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for his father in Farmington
FARMINGTON – In two speeches delivered in the region today, Donald Trump Jr. told voters that they have the opportunity to change the course of this nation by voting for a candidate who wants to fix a broken federal government.
That candidate is Donald Trump, he said, and the younger Trump urged the audience gathered inside the auditorium at Piñon Hills Community Church to vote for his father. Trump delivered a similar speech later in the day to a crowd at the Shiprock Chapter House.
Small crowds gathered outside both venues to protest against the candidate, including a group in Shiprock that repudiated the elder Trump in the Navajo language.
"I think we have an incredible opportunity to be able to tell D.C. we're not going to take it anymore," Trump said to a crowd packed inside the church.
The younger Trump described his father as being "outside the system" but he is "willing to get in there, willing to take the abuse of this office."
That outside appeal, he said, is one reason people are supporting his father.
"He believes in the American dream, he believes that still exists and he wants to unleash that for all Americans," Trump said.
The auditorium was filled to capacity with people standing along walls and inside the lobby, where they tried to catch a glimpse of Trump.
Red, white and blue balloons decorated the stage and Trump stood under an arrangement of balloons that spelled "Trump 2016."
At one point during the 20-minute speech, the audience broke into chants of "Trump! Trump!"
Throughout the speech, Trump talked about how his father wants people to experience raising families, developing businesses free of restrictive federal regulations.
Trump also said the federal government must be more accountable to voters.
"Men and women, young and old, Hispanics, African Americans – they're all sick of the lies, they're sick of the corruption, they're sick of the deceit, they're sick of the false promises. They want to see action, not talk," he said.
Because the people are tired of the deceit, they are looking for a candidate who is not part of the problem, he said emphasizing that that candidate is his father.
He also spoke briefly against the Affordable Care Act.
In order for people to afford the coverage, many have to work two jobs, he said adding that, despite the word "affordable" in the name, many Americans cannot afford health insurance.
The audience applauded, whistled and cheered when Trump mention his previous visits to the area to fly fish and hunt.
The turnout of more than a 1,000 people in Farmington surprised Trump, which he joked about shortly after stepping on stage.
"You know it was me not my dad who was coming here, right," Trump said.
He called the last 18 months of campaigning a "humbling experience" but said he has encountered "incredible people" throughout his travels.
While on the campaign trail people told him about losing jobs and the financial stress that takes a toll on families, he said.
Trump's visit to the area continued with a speech at an event sponsored by the Navajo Republicans of Shiprock at the Shiprock Chapter house.
He was greeted by more than a hundred residents from the Navajo Nation who filled the chapter house's main room.
While the majority of his speech carried similar themes he used in Farmington, Trump briefly talked about the series of failed promises made to all Americans.
Traditionally, Navajo voters have showed strong support for Democratic candidates.
Trump alluded to those voters and commended Navajos who have crossed party lines to support his father.
"I want to thank you for having the guts to take on the establishment," he said.
He told the audience that the values his father holds are ones that preserve the American dream and will help set the course for the next generation.
"We have to make sure that they have the same abilities to live that American dream," he said.
Some audience members waved campaign signs each time Trump mentioned his father's name and cheered when he spoke about changing the federal system.
There were also statements shouted in favor of Trump in the Navajo language, including, "Yéégo Trump," which translates to, "Go Trump."
When Trump concluded his speech, former Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly placed a turquoise necklace around his neck and Central Consolidated School District board vice president Adam Begaye gave him a Navajo rug.
It was later explained to Trump that it is Navajo tradition to present gifts to visitors. Trump landed at the Four Corners Regional Airport at about 3 p.m. and left about three hours later.
W. Tucker Keene, communications director for the Republican Party of New Mexico, said he was pleased with the turn out and the welcome for Trump in Farmington and Shiprock.
"We feel very good about the race here especially in this part of the state. Donald Trump and his team have been giving a lot of effort here in New Mexico and it's paying off. The polls are tightening and the Democrats are taking this state for granted," Keene said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.