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Op-Ed: What Message Does ‘Trump Train’ Send to the Community?

Dr. Jessica Edwards attends the June 2 Black Lives Matter protest in downtown New Braunfels. She said she stood with all of her patients, including husband Domonic and baby Franklin.

by Dr. Jessica Edwards
New Braunfels Family Medicine Practitioner
Zara Medical Aesthetics

As a person of color in this community who was raised a conservative, I am not sure what to think about the weekly demonstrations in support of the re-election of President Donald Trump because it’s hard to know what these events stand for.

Dr Edwards

Dr. Jessica Edwards

The current administration is delaying the processing of over 100 H1-B visas of doctors from other countries who were set to start their residency training in July to provide medical care in our great country.

Did you know that those doctors are more likely to provide care in medically underserved areas such as ours?

The average primary care physician has over 2,000 patients and what a difference of adding even one more provider would mean for our community.

Thinking about the disparities that transcend race and ethnicity in Comal County such as the lack of Medicaid and Medicare providers or even providers in general who are accepting new patients, I find myself wondering how this will improve when the data shows that the doctors more likely to accept Medicaid and Medicare are older doctors and those of color.

In addition, my concern is not about the gesture itself but potential unintended consequences:

  • What does this message send to those in our community who share different political views?
  • Does this ostracize the people of color who have been negatively affected by some policies of the administration?
  • What message does this send to people of color who are considering moving to our community? Will they feel welcome?
  • Does this send the message to a potential subset of these event-goers who may want to incite violence against people of color?

“Political affiliation does not have to translate into disenfranchisement.” –Dr. Jessica Edwards

Did you know that 70 percent of Black voters consider themselves moderate or conservative, but 88 percent vote Democrat? What is the disconnect? I was very disappointed that Herman Cain was not even mentioned at the Republican National Convention and he dedicated his life’s work to the Republican Party. When it comes to addressing systemic racism, only 31 percent of Republicans believe that systemic racism exists, while 69 percent believe that police shooting of unarmed citizens by police are isolated incidents.

In addition, 92 percent of white police officers believe that equality has been achieved by Black Americans while 68 percent of Black police officers say that there is more work to be done. I believe these statistics create a daunting but achievable task of us working together across party lines to achieve equity and accountability for all Americans in this country.

Many of you may not know, but when I attended the Black Lives Matter Protest in downtown New Braunfels a couple of months ago, I went against the advice of many friends and patients. They were not afraid of protests and rioting but they were afraid of the intimidation from members of the community who had re-election flags for the president flying high on their vehicles with their guns in hand.

I went during my lunch break, participated in the peaceful demonstration, and before I left, I thanked every single police officer who was there and shook their hand. I thanked them for allowing the protest. I thanked them for not being intimidating. I thanked them for passing out waters and most of all, I thanked them for making me feel safe.

When I think of the phrase Black Lives Matter, I think of education funding differences, over-policing in inner-city communities, housing discrimination, the fact that black women are 3x more likely to die in childbirth regardless of education status as well as the fact that Black Americans were dying from COVID at a 3x higher rate than other groups.

While I am not affiliated with the organization itself, I feel every syllable of the phrase.

From hearing my parents and other family members talk about their experience with the civil rights movement and seeing people sprayed with water hoses while protesting peacefully, to thinking about protests of today (some of which have gone violent) with no significant policy changes, I am personally tired of protests.

I am even more tired of the fact that a vast majority of them are peaceful and yet the ones that are not, make headline news. I want policies to change and I want accountability for bad police officers and protections for good ones.

I now consider myself a moderate and not directly affiliated with any political party but I would urge those who are attending the demonstrations to really think about the message that is being sent to our community and how these events can become more inclusive of minorities within our community.

Political affiliation does not have to translate into disenfranchisement.


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  1. Jennifer September 6, 2020

    Dr. Edwards, thank you so much for bravely sharing your perspective. Please know that there are people in this community who are listening. I support you and your efforts to expand our perception of the world beyond the lens of our own personal experience.

  2. Ray Briggs II September 5, 2020

    If you aren’t going to read past the first sentence of the article, don’t comment. Are you so afraid that exposing yourself to another person point of view might destroy your narrative of who Trump is and how people of color perceive him and the Trump Train? I feel like imagery of the Black Lives Matter flag dragging off the back end of a vehicle tells you all you need to know.
    And while I appreciate all the research that went into the article and the links provided by Dr. Edwards I will assume you can’t be bothered to read those either.
    Dr. Edwards article is not a manifesto of someones liberal wet dream of socialism, as your comment insinuates. It articulately states how the Trump Train is seen as more of a symbol of intimidation than of hope and optimism for a candidate. And that the perception is hurting access to care for local people in the area as people of color may not want to live here based on that perception.
    I don’t expect the article to change your mind but give her the basic respect of reading it first before spouting so much Fake News of what you think it represented.

  3. The trump train is such a poor representation of what this community or any community stands for. Yes, the big trucks make a commotion, but what message are the sending and at what cost? If you want to be pro trump, be that, after all, everyone has a vote. Why on earth do I or any member of New Braunfels or anyone passing through it have to see a Black Lives Matter flag dragging off the back end of a vehicle. How can anyone do this and claim to welcome all people when clearly you don’t. This is just another form of intimidation if you care to hear any other perspective besides your own. I feel trump is a bully and so goes his voters. Why is it so hard to just be kind. This event is an incident waiting to happen and another form of white privileged behavior. If this was BLM there would be all types of confrontation from trump supporters because they seem to love intimidation and the double standard allows it. The city should shut this down given it goes against the Covid guidelines for gatherings, no one wears a mask, and they are disruptive and gathering in masses that resemble a kkk gathering. It’s disgusting.

  4. Steve Ceh September 4, 2020

    Liberals will be liberals.
    If you believe in socialism there are plenty of places to reside in Europe. As for America, we will never be a socialist nation. We are one nation under God. We will never concede to the left ideas of no God. I find it very disgusting how the left preaches morality but murders the unborn everyday, calls our family units nuclear and desires to change it.
    Today we see a spiritual battle. Good vs evil. Yes God wins and evil loses.
    If any on the left want to participate in our weekly Trump Train you are more than welcome.
    I do have one warning, we pray and sing the national anthem. I guess that’s something new for you.

    1. Dr. Jessica Edwards September 4, 2020

      You were baited by the title and fell for it. In addition, you didn’t read the article (typical) and keep jumping around because you stats were not stats and I called you out on it. You have never met me to know or political affiliation or question my loyalty to America but nice try. You, sir, are exactly the reason why you don’t get more minority engagement in your party. Talking down to people like they are dumb and it being your way or the highway. I hope you know that it is possible to love a country and want better treatment and equality. If the Trump Train is anything like what my neighbor(s) experienced being called a ni&&^r, spat at and told to go back to where they came from as well as having the black lives matter flag drug like James Byrd Jr was in Jasper, I’ll pass! While you’re at it, please consider why you think everyone else is stupid or “doesn’t understand” because they don’t support your politics.

    2. S. Sparks September 7, 2020

      The “left” does not say there is no God, not most of them anyway. I find it disgusting that most Trump supporters seem to think that the only sin of morality is abortion, and ignore everything else. Morality can not be legislated, so leave it to God. If men were told what they could and couldn’t do regarding their bodies, there would be an uprising.

      A spiritual battle also applies to lying – he said he’d release his tax returns (Trump is the best in the history of the country at lying – check out his interviews on YouTube), it applies to adultery (Trump’s affairs), to stealing (construction workers he didn’t pay, Trump University scam). God allowed Herod and Pontus Pilate to rule, too, so I view Trump being in office as a wake-up call to return our nation to kindness, compassion, civility, honesty, tolerance, fair and equal treatment for all. None of which Trump exemplifies.

      So, the Trump Train celebrates this man as patriotic, this man who received five deferments for bone spurs and never served his country, who also doesn’t even read his briefings. He’s hired “only the best people” only to discredit, demean and fire them when they dared to question or criticize him – many, many people. But his supporters continue to believe anything he says, his propaganda, unquestioningly. Can everything really be fake news?

      Yes, he’s put forth cures for Covid, none of which have been proven and he’s muzzled the reporting of the disease by having the information go to the White House instead of the CDC.
      He ignored the pandemic at first, then downplayed the seriousness.

      Trump has encouraged violence and bullying at his rallies which also is on video. He can’t speak of anyone he disagrees with without giving them an elementary derogatory nickname. Acting presidential? So, is it any wonder that people are apprehensive about the Trump Train. Since when does honking equal patriotism? The crowds are getting larger, louder, which I think goes against the city code for nuisance noise. Law-abiding is not people riding riding in pickup truck beds either. It’s not respectful or considerate of people. The person who put the black lives matter flag under his truck gave all appearances of fostering hate and violence, so will others join in that type of behavior so as to be intimidating? This is not putting a good face on New Braunfels.

  5. Steve Ceh September 3, 2020

    Sorry, I couldn’t get past the first sentence of this nonsense. First thing that was mentioned was race. I believe we are all sick and tired of the race baiting game that is played. Here are the stats of the NB Trump Train.
    1. Every ethnicity is present every week
    2. Our main speaker tonight was Rolando Rodriquez of McAllen TX who runs Latinos for Trump
    3. We are law abiding citizens
    4. The last two weeks a few gentlemen from BLM attended our group and have had very good productive conversations with us.
    5. We make every effort to make this as efficient as we can for our community
    6. We are in full communication with our great local
    Law enforcement
    No guns in hand as you claim and the so called racist remark was also false after we investigated
    Also, I believe our great President recommended hydroxychloroquine which is a cure for Covid.
    Instead of complaining, come out and see what we’re all about.

    1. Dr. Jessica Edwards September 4, 2020

      Thanks for clarifying that you didn’t read the article. We are on the 3rd doctor of color who has declined moving to our community (in much needed specialties, by the way) due to feeling intimidation from these events. And for your clarification, the article addresses perceptions and potential unintended consequences of them as well as looks at the bigger picture of the disconnect between the Republican Party and a vast majority of Black Americans.

      My stats are below. Feel free to review them in your spare time:

      Here is the latest article from the NEJM about plaquenil and zithromax, which shows no difference in outcome: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2019014

      I also have a Podcast that discusses these issues as well: http://www.straightfactsnochaserpodcast.com

      Have a great weekend! -Dr. Edwards

  6. KF September 3, 2020

    It is unfortunate that people of color would feel Intimidation at the sight of a Tump flag being waved from a truck. It tells me that they aren’t listening to the message of President Trump and only listening to the fake news. When we wave the flag for President Trump, we are waving it for people of color. A free America for all is the message of our current president. If Biden wins and all his policies that are listed in the Biden-Sanders plan are put in place, you will look back and realize that President Trump and all his supporters were actually standing up for you—Standing in the face of a huge socialist threat that will take away the precious freedoms that millions from other countries wish they had so much that they all want to be here. A broken America will hurt the whole world.

    1. Leah Garcia September 3, 2020

      Seriously? 100’s are congregating in trucks to gather with America and Texas flags, Come and Take it flags, and Trump flags. All I see from Snapchat and various other videos circulating is white people They also wear Trump hats and Trump shirts. Why they feel intimidated is that visual. The ugly hate rhetoric that ensued last Thursday against an African American that a Jeep lunged at abd yelled a very nasty racial slur.

      My husband and I wear trapped in the Trump Train 2 weeks ago on all sides. There were people standing in their pickup beds riding video taping and another blaring music through speakers. All yelling and screaming. We saw then crashing baby traffic laws.

      During the June peaceful protest many Republicans and Trump supporters claimed the protestors were going to riot and destroy local businesses and they showed up and congregated in a corner by Black Whale Pub waving Trump flags and bearing arms out in public. The peaceful protesters were not carrying any candidates flag and none carried guns.

      That’s outright intimidation. It was done to intimidate the protestors. I drive stung the plaza on June 6th as it was my birthday and we showed our support by honking and waving to protestors we knew.

      This town is so conservative and believes every meme whether true or false. The head of the Republican Party shared a very racist post that was proven false I’ve and over and made the national news. Hope she was embarrassed.

      If we are not in support of the Trump Train parade we must be wrong and only believe fake news. The fake news is perpetuated by the President himself. He makes up facts on the fly and shared and retweets fake and false information daily. He only represents his base. Unless you are a person of color you can’t know if he included you or not. I am married to a Mexican American and have 3 boys. I have seen the things they’ve experienced and what they share.

      If Dr Parker can so eloquently share her experiences and raise legitimate questions do not insult her by telling her she setting and believes in fake news. She’s highly educated and presented you with data and facts yet you through the fake news card. Listen to someone besides the fake President.

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