Donald Trump supporters brave triple-digit heat to see their candidate

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-19 10:30:44-04

Thousands of Donald Trump supporters patiently waited in line outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday morning to see their candidate speak. 

Some of the them spent the night outside the gates, waiting for security to let them in.

"I always like to get in early, want to make sure I get a seat, sit up close," said Diana Brest, the first person in line since 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Others came early after their last experience at the Fountain Hills rally, when protesters blocked the road, causing a backup along Shea Boulevard that forced some to walk for miles to see Trump speak.

"I went to the Fountain Hills [rally] only two hours early, they blocked the highway, had to walk three and a half miles to the rally," said John Quinn. This time he showed up at 7:30 a.m., or almost 9 hours before Trump was scheduled to speak. 

Some were cashing in on the hot temperatures. Vendors, selling water at $4 for an ice-cold bottle. Right next to them, event volunteers and firefighters were handing out bottled water for free.

Despite the saturation of available hydration, Phoenix firefighters treated three people for heat exhaustion.

Captain Rob McDade said all were women between the ages of 40 and 70, showing symptoms of profuse sweating, weakness, and disorientation.

"One of them, her family and friends flagged us down, she had gotten sick a couple times. Eyes rolled back, near fainting," said McDade.

All three were given cold water, and a place to sit and cool down away from the 111-degree heat. They were sent on their way after they spent some time recovering.

Vendors were also cashing in on the Trump mania. T-shirts, buttons, and hats flying off the makeshift shelves. The vendor who set up next to the coliseum entrance said a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the Republican Party.

Ken Julien, an author who wrote two books about the Trump phenomenon, was there selling his books, "The Trump Movement: The Second American Revolution" and "Trump America Loves a Winner: Understanding the Trump Revolution."

As the titles make clear, he explained the Trump phenomenon as a revolution, when people were tired of the establishment, and a government they did not connect with anymore.

"What surprises me is the odds that were against Trump from the start. He has his own party against him, the Democrats against him, the media against him, the moneyed interests on Wall Street against him. He has the most influential groups in this country against him, yet he has been able to overcome that to this point, and become a viable candidate," said Julien.

Five hours later, an electrified and excited crowd emerged from the coliseum. Many said Trump's nearly 45-minute speech had energized and inspired them.

"His anti-establishment parts of the speech, where he talked about how he was part of the establishment before and the establishment turned against him, that really got to me," said Trump supporter Michael Moran.

RELATED: Full video of Trump's Phoenix speech

Gayla Franks, another Trump supporter said she was tired of the politicians she voted for turning their backs on the people as soon as they got to Washington. She believed in Trump because she felt he didn't have to do this, and she felt he was not for sale to the lobbyist's interests.

"There's something about him that we know we can trust. He hasn't been in the jungle of Washington D.C. He hasn't been corrupted by Washington. I don't think he's corruptible, I just don't," said Franks.

MORE: Donald Trump visits the Valley again

Many were grateful for the strong police presence at the fairgrounds, saying it made them feel safe.

Protesters were not allowed inside the fairgrounds, so there was a big distance between them and the Trump supporters waiting in line. Many felt that made a big difference as they did not feel harassed while walking to the rally.