Standing near the door at the Lakewood sports bar where Pierce County Republicans gathered to watch the presidential debate Monday were two Donald Trumps.
One was a cardboard cutout. The other was Craig Mann of Belfair, wearing a Trump mask and holding a sign that read, “Can’t Stop the Trump.”
“I’m entirely fed up with Republican player candidates,” Mann said. “This is the first chance at someone from the outside.”
Shana Veillette of Puyallup, wearing a “Hillary for Prison” button, took a selfie with Mann. She said she attended the event, which drew about 50 people to the Cheers Bar & Grill, for the camaraderie with fellow Republicans.
Veillette said she is tired of liberal Seattle setting the tone for the rest of Washington.
“We’ve had our voice squashed because they’re louder,” she said.
Judy Randisi of University Place opened the night by leading the room in prayer. She asked God to do away with deceit during the debate.
“Give us a president that loves America and a president that loves Americans,” she prayed.
The crowd applauded when Trump walked on stage. When the camera showed Clinton, a single boo went out.
Trump got his first big round of applause when he outlined his economic plan.
Clinton’s green energy plan — solar panels were mentioned — elicited laughter from the crowd. Clinton’s tuition-free college proposal also drew derision.
The crowd was silent while moderator Lester Holt questioned Trump about his refusal to release his tax returns. But they erupted in cheers when Trump said Clinton should release her e-mails first.
After the debate, the room gave Trump a collective thumbs-up. Mann said Trump had tried to play nice.
“He’s being a gentleman. He’s not being hard on (Clinton), but he is addressing every issue,” Mann said.
“He came at her pretty good a couple of times,” Veillette said. She thought Clinton acted like a politician.
Joseph Garnier of Lakebay was more blunt.
“She’s a robot,” he said, sporting a top hat and a “Deplorable Lives Matter” T-shirt.