O’Reilly Factor Audience Pays For College Band’s Trip to Inauguration

By A.J. Katz 

The Talladega College Marching Tornadoes band has been taking a lot of heat as of late for agreeing to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration. The small, historically black college in Alabama had also been struggling to raise the $75,000 needed to travel to D.C. for Friday’s festivities. But an appearance from school president Dr. Billy C. Hawkins on The O’Reilly Factor this past Thursday apparently pushed the group over the top.

“Some alumni have come at me pretty hard; they don’t want the band to participate and say I am a disgrace to my race,” Hawkins told O’Reilly during the program. “This is about the students having an opportunity to participate in this national ceremony.”

O’Reilly passionate, loyal, conservative audience responded to the interview in the form of mass monetary donations.

According a New York Times report, the band had raised about $50,000 on its GoFundMe page prior Hawkins’s appearance on The Factor. As of Monday Jan. 17, that number has grown to a whopping $593,277.

The donations have been raised by over 10,000 people in 13 days.

Donors have been giving as little as $5 and as much as $500.

“Congratulations to The Marching Tornadoes and President Hawkins!,” commented a man who donated $100. “I look forward to seeing you on television Friday! Make Alabama proud!”

An anonymous user donated $500 at 11:15 a.m. ET today.

On Friday, the school’s president said the 230 band members were excited to perform, and none had dropped out in protest. He said it was a very tough decision, but one he hoped would help the college with future funding from the government.

“If you don’t come to the table, you’re not going to be able to eat,” Mr. Hawkins said at a news conference. “Talladega College is going to be at the table.”