Passionate Trump supporters crowded a grassy slope along the downtown Cleveland waterfront to rally for GOP presidential hopeful outside Donald Trump.
Given that the group Bikers for Donald Trump organized the event, many were clad in motorcycle garb — bandannas, jackets embroidered with bike club insignia. Others wore the "Hillary for Prison" t-shirts made famous by Alex Jones, founder of InfoWars.com, who spoke early on in the event. One attendee donned a t-shirt featuring a pornographic image with Trump's and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's heads superimposed onto the bodies of a naked man and woman.
The event's most well-known speaker was Roger Stone, a longtime party activist and controversial figure on the right. Earlier this election cycle, Stone got banned from CNN over tweets he sent bashing minorities.
In a 15-minute speech, he captivated his audience and asserted that this election is the most important he's seen in his 50-plus years as a political operative.
"I must tell you I have never been more excited about a presidential campaign, I have never seen a grassroots uprising, an insurrection by the American people who realize that this election is unlike any other election that we have seen, and I'll tell you why," he said. "This is not the Republicans versus the Democrats. This is the elites of the Republican and the Democratic party who have driven this country into the ditch versus Donald J. Trump and the rest of America."
He called for party unity and insisted that the Never Trump movement give up so the party can focus on defeating Clinton.
"Did you see the vote? It was 112 to 12," he said of last week's last-ditch attempt to challenge the Trump nomination.
Turning to Clinton, Stone bluntly accused her of corruption and even murder, dredging up the 23-year-old Vince Foster conspiracy theory as a demonstration of her ethics.
"This is a crusade for the future of Western civilization," he said. "There's only one man who will stand up to terrorism in the United States and across the globe, only one man who will protect all people —gay people, black people, yellow people, Hispanic people. all Americans, from the terror of Islamic radicalism. That's right. I said it: Islamic radicalism. That is the enemy. And the president can't even bring himself to say it."
Those who cheered him on comprised a range of age groups, and not all supporters gathered were white.
Between speeches, Floyd Martin blew into a large spiraled ram's horn, which he said he did as a way to pray for safety. He's part of the "Knee Party," an organization whose sole purpose, he said, was to pray for people.
"We're just here to pray. We're here to just sound the voice of God in the area, for the people that are here," he said. "We don't want to see any protester come in and do something wrong, so we're just being a voice for God in the atmosphere."
Surprisingly to many politicos at first, evangelicals have sat squarely in Trump's corner despite his brashness and a personal life that includes philandering and two divorces. Martin originally supported Ben Carson, but believes there's actually a biblical precedent for a Trump-like character.
"If you look in the Bible, it talks about Cyrus, and actually, I think he has a Cyrus anointing in this time. He may not be the most politically correct, he may not be religious, but he's got an anointing on, I believe, from God, that'll actually make some major changes in this country."
Fort Lauderdale resident Chuck Kirkpatrick, founder of the thepeoplesvote.com, was there representing Vets for Trump.
"I think it's pretty simple, he said. "The United States government is the largest business in the world...There's only one candidate with the successful business experience to manage a company like that: Donald J. Trump. To me it just makes sense."
As for potential clashes between the pro-and anti-Trump camps outside the arena, he said he believes the protesters demonstrating outside the arena against Trump are actually being paid, and that that their intention is to advocate. And though he says it's important to be at events like Monday's rally, he is going to be careful.
"Today, more than ever, you have to be conscious of your surroundings," he said. You have to look for something that just doesn't look right: someone wearing a long jacket out here...anything that looks out of place."
Earlier in the event, comedian Eric Andre trolled Jones while he was onstage, the former asking the latter to have sex with his wife.