BY JAKE BULLINGTON
An estimated 2,500 people lined up to see controversial Republican front-runner Donald Trump as he boycotted the GOP debate Thursday night.
Trump opted for his own event at Drake, raising six million dollars for charities supporting veterans.
While Sheslow seating is capped at 700, many more watched the event on an outdoor monitor as temperatures dropped. Those who hoped for a glimpse of the candidate began to line up over three and a half hours before the event was scheduled and ended up waiting a total of five hours outside.
“Too. Damn. Long.,” said Margaret Clapham, an undecided Drake student who will be caucusing Monday, and who is considering Trump among others. Clapham was shaking, trying to stay warm, but was ultimately positive about the candidate and the event.
“It was nice that he was doing this for the veterans, that’s impressive. It seems he’s raising a lot of money, so that’s good,” Clapham said.
Other Drake students, however, were not as positive about Trump. They did not appreciate a candidate on campus known for using racist rhetoric, which led some students to protest.
This caused President Marty Martin to address the issue, via an email to students.
“By hosting Mr. Trump we were not endorsing or affirming his opinions,” Martin wrote. “Rather, we were doing exactly what a university should do, which is to facilitate a free and open debate through which ideas and positions can be put to the test.”
He later wrote he was ‘inspired’ by these protesters using their right to freedom of speech.
The controversial Trump event was the last event on campus , leading up to the caucus on Monday.