The Donald Trump rally in Billings, Montana just a few nights ago sparked a lot of discussion not only about the content of what the President said — he made jokes about assaulting reporters and filled his time with the same nonsensical hyperbole that seems to always fire up his base — but also discussion about what was going on behind the President as he spoke.
Two notable things happened: First, a young woman was caught on film literally desecrating the flag with, uh… boogers. But second, and far more widely talked about, were the three young people who were “replaced” in the crowd from the area directly behind where Trump was speaking, in real time, by more enthusiastic supporters of the President.
There was endless speculation online about the kids being “paid actors” who were “fired” during the rally for not waving and cheering enough, and that seemed to be the prevailing theory of what happened — and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Well, it could be a little further — they were removed over their enthusiasm levels. But they were absolutely not paid actors, or even Trump supporters. In fact, even here at the Tribune, we had some debate over what their motivations were.
Well, wonder no longer. “Plaid Shirt Guy,” as the young man at camera left became known by midday Friday, is actually Tyler Linfesty, a student at Billings West High School, just five and a half miles from the arena where the rally was held. He is actually a Democratic Socialist, like most young people who actually have a political affiliation that they’re vocal about, and he sat down with CNN’s Don Lemon late last night to discuss the rally:
Tyler was removed from the rally entirely as well as questioned and ID’ed by Secret Service, although he says the entire process was totally respectful.
The entire affair just goes to show why some on the right love to scream “FAKE NEWS” when they see people reporting things before all the facts are in. Personally, I knew this kid — and his two friends at camera right — were not there to support the President in the first place, because Plaid Shirt Guy was making all the same faces I made the first time I ever heard Donald Trump attempt to talk about politics. He was literally doing his best not to laugh the entire time he remained behind the commander in chief, and for that we commend you, Tyler.
Featured image via screen capture