Ronald Sanchez was terrified about entering a Donald Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia last month — and that was before he was spit on by a total stranger.
Sanchez, 30, is from Honduras. He lives in the U.S. on a work permit, and has been here for 14 years. Sanchez works as a technician at Hilliard Automotive in Richmond, Virginia, the host city of a Trump rally that got testy in mid-October.
Trump’s rhetoric about illegal immigration had rubbed Sanchez the wrong way and he decided to attend the rally to stand up for his fellow Latinos.
So Sanchez got tickets for himself and his wife, Maria.
He started to fear for their safety once they approached the event, which was held at the Richmond International Raceway.
“All the way that we are walking through the line and … people were already looking at us like, man. Like it was awful,” he told INSIDER. “I mean it was the first time I ever felt that here in the United States, to be honest with you.”
It only got worse after the couple went inside.
They joined a group of protesters from Virginia Commonwealth University. As soon as Trump started speaking about deporting illegal immigrants and building a massive wall along the border, the group began chanting “dump Trump, dump Trump.”
Soon after, security started rounding up the protesters, and Sanchez said Trump supporters began shouting, “Go back to Mexico. You shouldn’t be here. This is our country.”
It was then Sanchez took off his jacket and revealed his shirt, on which he had written that Trump was a “puto” (Spanish slang for a male prostitute). He and his wife were asked by security to leave, because they were allegedly trespassing.
“If you want to do something like that go to a Hillary rally,” Sanchez said a guard told him.
Sanchez said they got nervous about what would happen next, and his wife convinced him to leave. Sanchez said he asked the security guard to make sure no one touched them on their way out. But then, an enraged Trump supporter came rushing toward him.
“He was charging me with intention of hitting me,” Sanchez said. “One of the videos showed me saying ‘do not touch me, do not touch me.’ That’s when he was talking crap and cursing at me … I responded and said I pay taxes just like you do here, and that’s when he spit on my face.”
Sanchez said he wanted to fight back, but he had a moment of clarity as he was leaving the venue. He thought about his son and wife, and remembered why he was at the rally in the first place.
“If I would have hit this guy, I would have lost the whole purpose of me being there,” he said. “(Which was to) show the whole world Latinos are not here to destroy this country, we’re here to build it.”
Sanchez filed a police report against his alleged attacker soon after. But, without a name, there isn’t much the police can do. Sanchez said he was initially embarrassed to show his face after the incident went viral, because he was worried about what people would say to him. That quickly changed.
“People kind of started respecting me a little more and saying thank you for what you did cause that’s not easy,” he said. “Telling me ‘you did right.'”
Video by Stephen Parkhurst.
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