WICHITA, Kansas -- Republican front-runner Donald Trump faced a hostile audience who booed him for most of 10 minutes as he spoke at a caucus location next door to his early morning rally on Saturday.
The crowd at Convention Hall at Century II in downtown Wichita was made up overwhelmingly of Ted Cruz supporters, who waved signs and interrupted the billionaire businessman as he tried to made his case.
“We turned around and said we have to get to Kansas, and we’ve been here,” Trump said to a chorus of boos. “We just had a rally, thousands of people, thousands of people outside, couldn’t even get in, so it’s going to be a special day.”
The Kansas Republican Party extended an invitation to each candidate -- or his representative -- to address voters before they made their decisions. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Trump were the only two candidates in attendance. And Trump wasn’t the only one booed: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who spoke on behalf of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also wasn't feeling the love from this audience.
While the booing and interruptions continued throughout Trump’s speech, the presidential hopeful spoke for 10 minutes without acknowledging the noise.
The loudest boos came as Trump was describing his business success.
“Some of the greatest assets in the world,” Trump said of his company. “Very low debt. Tremendous cash flow. Some of the most incredible places. In fact, this week at Doral, they are are playing the World Golf Championship, it’s now Trump National Doral,” he said, as the crowd interrupted and drowned him out with noise.
“I was definitely part of the booing,” said Ben Chambers, 24, of Wichita. “I’ve been listening to what he says and I’m not buying it, plus the guy can’t even spell the name of our town.”
Chambers, a Cruz supporter, said he was concerned that so many Republicans are supporting Trump and wanted to do something about it.
“I feel like I should let my opinion be known,” Chambers explained. “It’s all about expressing your opinions, that’s the great thing about America is that we can do that. We can be vocal.”
But Tom Small, 96, of Wichita, said he was shocked when he heard people around him begin to boo.
“I thought the booing was so disrespectful of Kansas people,” Small explained. “I would have never expected that. It’s all right to disagree, but they were our guests here in Kansas and I was hoping that they would all be treated the same.”
Small, a World War II and Korean War veteran, originally was going to support Ben Carson until the former neurosurgeon formally dropped out of the race on Friday. He said he made his final decision as he listened to the candidates or their representative’s speeches.
“I’m leaning toward Cruz,” he said. “I like Cruz because he has a knowledge of the constitution. I’ve heard him speak quite a bit and I think he’s a sharp man. I am embarrassed that some of his other supporters were engaging in that kind of behavior today. That wasn’t right.”