SPOKANE, Wash. — The dozens of protesters gathered outside the Spokane Convention Center were outnumbered by supporters of Donald Trump who lined up early for the first of the presumptive GOP presidential candidate's two Saturday rallies in Washington state.
Trump was due to speak at in Spokane at noon and had a 3 p.m. rally scheduled on the other side of Washington in Lynden, north of Seattle, where hundreds of people lined up Saturday morning in anticipation.
In Spokane, one woman, 38-year-old Erin McLaughlin, was denied entry to the event. McLaughlin, who was wearing a white halo on her head, said Trump staff wouldn't let her in because she wasn't a supporter. McLaughlin said she opposes Trump's incendiary speech, which she says makes people feel unsafe.
Another protester, 30-year-old Blaine Dan McLay, wore a "Stop Trump" hat. McLay said Trump's ideas "make no sense" and he's "xenophobic, misogynistic and racist."
And Blaine Stum, 30, of Spokane, said: "I'm a gay atheist and a humanist and I don't believe in anything he does."
But there were far more Trump backers gathering in downtown Spokane.
Mike Fagen, a Spokane city councilman, said he likes Trump because the New York businessman rattled the establishment.
"He's our best possibility of getting the GOP straightened out," Fagan said. "He is a breath of fresh air."
And 40-year-old Jason Flowers of Spokane said he liked Trump's "honesty."
Washington State University football coach spoke to supporters at the convention center before Trump's speech, saying he endorses the presumptive GOP presidential.
Leach, who said he was speaking for himself and not WSU, said "it's time for Mr. Trump to assist us together in our country ... making America great again."
Trump's likely spot at the top of the GOP ticket has caused a rift in the state Republican party in the run up to the May 24 Washington presidential primary. On Thursday, GOP Senate candidate Chris Vance said he wouldn't vote for Trump. Several other Republicans in the state have also said they can't support Trump, including Sen. Steve Litzow, who posted a statement to his Facebook page saying a Trump presidency "would be detrimental to our nation's spirit."
Republican Sen. Don Benton, Trump's state campaign chairman, says opposition to Trump comes from the Republican establishment pushing back against a candidate that won't serve special interests.
Saturday was Trump's second day in the Northwest. He greeted thousands of supporters Friday night in Eugene, Oregon. Hundreds of protesters also gathered outside the event. Eugene police said the demonstrations ended peacefully and there were no arrests.