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Five minutes of infamy: students go viral at Trump rally

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When three Perry seniors attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22, they had no idea that a photo of them posing in their patriotic ensembles would go viral, subjecting them to waves of hate from people they had never met.

“That night when we were at the Trump rally we were getting pictures,” senior Nathanael Foster said. “So many people wanted pictures with us. We were there that night and we looked online and we saw that one of the news stations that had taken pictures with us had already posted it and we were like, ‘Oh, shoot! I guess we’re going viral!’”

Seniors Jason Tomlinson, Bryson Breinholt, and Nathanael Foster attended the rally as a project for their government class, receiving extra credit if they dressed up for the event.

“It was pretty crazy, lots of protesters and lots of avid, strong-willed Trump supporters,” Breinholt said. “There was lots of extreme opinions. Tons of guys [police].”

Their five minutes of fame came when a photo posted by the KTAR Twitter account began to receive notable attention, with over one hundred comments posted within the first five hours of being online.

“A lot of people think that because I went to support Trump as the president that I am Trump, or they think I’m a racist and call me all these other things,” Foster said. “There was a lot of people that were attacking us saying that, ‘This is where our society is going,’ because we look like the next generation.”

From responses condemning their parents, to dubbing them ‘frat boys,’ to warning the boys of the lingering effects of online infamy, the tweet exploded, not only drawing attention to the boys’ personal accounts, but to the school which they attend. Luckily for themselves, the boys do not let the negative responses get to them, even finding humor in the backlash.

“I thought it [the attention] was really funny,” Breinholt said. “I laughed.”

Despite brushing off the comments, the boys are disappointed in the hate spread throughout the country, especially online.

“I think it [the hate] is sad, honestly, because they know nothing about me and those people looked far enough to attack my personal profile where there was a picture of me doing a humanitarian project and that’s sad,” Foster said.

While Foster emphasizes that the boys would respectfully support whomever is in office, he wishes others shared that mentality.

“I think that people are filled with too much hate,” Foster said. “People are going to support different things and you can’t just judge people off of appearance because that’s when we start becoming divided. We’re all still people and once we lose sight of that, that’s when everything goes bad.”

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Five minutes of infamy: students go viral at Trump rally