August 9, 2016.
National and local media descended on Briar Woods High School last week, along with thousands of Donald Trump supporters and dozens of protesters. It was Mr. Trump’s first rally in Loudoun County as the Republican nominee for President, and he, alongside his son Eric, promised they would be back.
For some of the press and others, the story became Trump kicking a woman with a baby out of the rally. For others it was about making callous comments after a local vet presented his Purple Heart. And for some, the biggest story was that a local School Board member blocked entry doors and was arrested.
We were at the rally too, and we say this is absurd.
What we observed was a hastily and well-organized campaign event that was massive by Loudoun County standards. The crowd was overwhelmingly well-behaved and courteous, as were the protesters and speakers for the opposition.
We observed from up close. No mother and baby were kicked out of the event, though Trump’s idea of a humorous comment about a crying baby is not one we share. Nor was he disrespectful of the Purple Heart or the solider who presented it to him. Just the opposite; Trump was moved. Again, a few of his words were not those we would’ve chosen, but so what.
As for Joy Maloney, the Democrat and School Board member who was briefly arrested for something more or less to do with trying to get her place back on line and impeding or offending others, this was much ado about almost nothing. We credit the Loudoun County Republican Committee for backing off its initial call for her resignation as it better understood the circumstances surrounding the event. Still, this wasn’t Ms. Maloney’s finest moment.
Trump in Ashburn was a secure, effective public event in the heart of Loudoun County. The organizers and participants deserve credit. The candidate got his message out and so did those who oppose him. That’s the story.
America has an important election on November 8. Leadership, character and policy matter; the rest is just noise.