It’s a rare thing to find oneself in the background of history.

For Jackson Purfeerst, an opportunity this fall gave him just that, quite literally. Purfeerst was invited to attend President Donald Trump’s rally Oct. 10 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Seated about 25 feet behind and above the president, he found himself at a rare vantage point in history.

“Being there was incredible,” Purfeerst said Friday, Oct. 25. “The energy and enthusiasm of 20,000 other patriots in the room, it was exhilarating. It was insane. … To be around so many truly nice, just nice people, it was amazing.”

Originally from Crosslake, Purfeerst is a 2019 graduate of Pequot Lakes High School and a student at Central Lakes College, with hopes to go into the medical field and potentially a career in political activism down the road. While he noted his parents didn’t steer him one way or another, Purfeerst said he’s long shown an interest in politics and has actively worked to promote conservative interests.

This has connected him to the likes of state Reps. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and Congressman Pete Stauber, R-Duluth -- of which, the latter gave Purfeerst a VIP reserve ticket to Trump's rally.

“I learned about the opportunity probably about a week beforehand and I was totally, absolutely stoked to be there,” Purfeerst said. “I was surprised to get a VIP ticket and I was very excited about that.”

President Donald Trump waves during a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of Jackson Purfeerst
President Donald Trump waves during a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of Jackson Purfeerst

While Purfeerst wasn’t able to meet Trump personally, he enjoyed a rare and intimate proximity to history, standing a few feet behind the podium and hearing the president’s address in relatively close quarters amid a booming venue.

In addition, Purfeerst was able to meet Christl Mahfouz, the owner of Ace Specialties. Ace Specialities is the promotion merchandise company behind the iconic Make America Great America red hats and other items associated with the president’s tenure in office.

In terms of numerous allegations and ongoing investigations into alleged legal, personal and constitutional improprieties by Trump, Purfeerst dismissed them as political ploys, smear campaigns and hack journalism with little substance in reality.

“I can’t see how Trump did anything wrong. They slammed this impeachment inquiry on him -- even before he had a chance to disclose the transcript between him and the Ukrainian president,” Purfeerst said -- though, the impeachment inquiry was initiated after the White House released a rough transcript detailing a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I think the Democrats have politically motivated this from the beginning. They wanted to see Trump out of there before he was even elected.”

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Central Lakes College student and Crosslake native Jackson Purfeerst (middle-row, third from left) cheers with other supporters of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of Jackson Purfeerst

In terms of criticisms leveled against Trump’s offensive statements, Purfeerst said the president is presenting himself, unfiltered by the media, to the masses.

“I think his Twitter is probably the best thing Trump can do to get the word out directly, to get what he wants to say out directly, without the media,” Purfeerst said. “They’ll try to spin it.”

To the contrary, Trump’s presidency doesn’t represent a low point for the Republican Party, Purfeerst said, it represents a new direction and rebirth, evidenced by a burgeoning youth movement in support of the president’s policies.

While Purfeerst claimed the media often overlooks Trump’s positive contributions, he said his followers appreciate progress made for anti-abortion advocacy, small businesses, the national economy, an “America first” foreign policy and border security.