Boy With Cerebral Palsy Meets President Obama Day After Being Booted From Trump Rally
Lifestyle| | By Matthew D'Onofrio
After being jeered and booed at a Donald Trump rally in Florida, a young disabled boy was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity less than 24 hours later: meet President Barack Obama.
J.J. Holmes, 12 years old and stricken with cerebral palsy, was kicked out of a Trump rally on Saturday in Tampa, FL after protesting peacefully. Holmes had a placard supporting Hillary Clinton at the Tampa rally, but he was primarily there to stand against Trump’s treatment of citizens with disabilities.
“We were put out by security,” his mother, Alison, told Huffington Post. “Mr. Trump kept saying, ‘Get them out.’”
This was before Trump supporters chanted “USA, USA, USA” at the boy and reportedly delivered kicks to his wheelchair while he was pushed away from the scene.
A reporter witnessed the incident and called Clinton’s press secretary, Valentina Pereda.
“What kind of nation do we live in?” Pereda wrote in a Facebook post, recalling thinking, “What the hell could I do to make this child even slightly forget that experience?”
Turns out she could make it so Holmes would shake hands with President Obama on Sunday in Kissimmee.
Pereda escorted Holmes and his mom to Clinton’s rally in Florida where they would be in the VIP area and then come face-to-face with Obama following his final campaign speech delivery.
“At that moment, JJ’s mom tells him he’s going to meet the President,” wrote Pereda. “JJ jumps out of his seat and erupts into cheer… his smile almost bursting out of his face. His body overcome by light, when just the day before it almost succumbed to hate.”