Between 200 and 250 people, according to a Pasadena police estimate, gathered at Pasadena City Hall Sunday afternoon for a rally to support President Trump as well as a number of local Republican candidates.
The event was led and emceed by GOP District 27 congressional candidate Johnny Nalbandian, who led the gathering and introduced the speakers—comedian Beno Blanko, 2022 gubernatorial candidate Laura Smith, assembly candidate Burton Brink, No on 16 advocates Susan Guo and Katherine Ruan, and assembly candidate Robin Hvidston.
Nalbandian faces off against longtime incumbent Rep. Judy Chu on Nov. 3.
More than 100 vehicles haphazardly filled the Centennial Square, including at least two semi-diesel cabs, which blasted their piercing air horns as speakers addressed the crowd.
Few of the participants—and none of the speakers—wore masks.
Nalbandian said later that he thought masks “don’t help,’ and they were “like pacifiers.”
Comedian Blanko set aside his comedy routine for a plaintive speech on patriotism and hard work.
“My parents brought me here to America and taught me one thing: Work hard,” he said to generous applause.
Most of the candidates also railed against “socialism” and the “far left.”
Nalbandian, a self-described “political junkie” from childhood, told Pasadena Now in an interview following the event that he wanted to run for office in his 20s, but family tragedies prevented that. Instead, he ran the family businesses. When other children watched cartoons, he said, he watched history and political shows.
“And I have always been a conservative, an unfiltered conservative,” he added.
Asked about his chances against Chu, firmly established in Congress fot 11 years in a heavily Blue state, Nalbandian said, “I’m going to win. I’ve got the numbers.”
Nalbandian added, “She has never come out against Antifa,” and indirectly blamed her for a fire in August which destroyed the San Gabriel Mission.
2022 gubernatorial candidate Laura Smith described herself as a “businesswoman” and said, “I’m probably worse than Trump,” while conservative educator Diane Palmer spoke out in support of private and charter schools and said she supported school vouchers, home schooling, and “parent’s choice.”
The event, which seemed to quickly lose steam about two-thirds of the way through, ended with the twenty or so speakers and audience members remaining, clasping hands and singing “America the Beautiful” on the City Hall steps.