President Donald Trump visited Columbia for the first time yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 1. He arrived for a rally promoting Republican Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley.
The rally was held in Hangar 350 of the Columbia Regional Airport, and was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 3:30 p.m.
The event was only one in a national series primarily promoting republican midterm candidates, spanning from Columbia, Mo. to Belgrade, Mt.
“Columbia is going to be a really battleground area for this election,” Morris said. “It has primarily voted Democratic in the past couple elections, but a lot of polling numbers have shown there is a lot of potential for Josh Hawley here.”
The Trump campaign announced it would hold a rally in Columbia Oct. 26, despite being a historically liberal leaning city. Hawley suggested the location was chosen to maximize accessibility.
“The White House chose, and I think so people can come from all around, from St. Louis and Kansas City,” Hawley said. “Either way I’m glad.”
In addition to being centrally located, Columbia holds political importance. Senior Drew Morris, who is a Hawley campaign intern, described the significance of Columbia in this year’s midterm elections.
The rally saw a significant turn out. One Columbia Police Department member estimated the crowd to be “over 30,000.” The high attendance resulted in long lines and far parking. Junior James Glaser reported having to walk nearly two miles to the venue, only to find the Hangar filled to capacity.
Rally officials announced the hanger was filled at 5:24 p.m., and began directing the incoming crowd to an overflow area to the right of the hangar. Officials did, however, allow some attendees to enter the hanger after the announcement. The overflow area filled by 6:22 p.m., and incoming attendees were asked to watch the rally from a large screen outside the area.
To avoid the wait and traffic, several RBHS students, including freshman Logan Burnam, volunteered through the Young Republicans club. Volunteers requested pledges to vote for Hawley in the Nov. 6 midterm, and in return received a guaranteed admission to the event.
“[Young Republicans] has given me so many great opportunities,” Burnam said. “I thought this was one of them, so I signed up.”
At 6:40 p.m., a voice over the loudspeakers announced that Air Force One was “wheels down.” President Trump was greeted with applause and sign waving as he approached the podium.
Through his speech, President Trump attacked democratic lawmakers, especially Missouri Senate incumbent Claire McCaskill, Hawley’s opponent.
President Trump described the achievements of his administration citing, “Unemployment is at an all time low. The economy is at an all time high.”
In the second half of his speech, President Trump focused on immigration, furthering his recent stance against birthright citizenship. He continued, attacking chain immigration, immigrant “caravans” and democratic leaders. President Trump ended his hour long speech with his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Story by Amira McKee
The RBHS Young Republicans club was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again rally, Nov. 1. The rally took place at the Columbia Regional Airport and was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The Young Republicans group left RBHS at 12:50 p.m. in a school bus to get to the event. Around 40 members volunteered.
As they arrived to the rally, the group was led to the volunteer entrance and were given bright green volunteer shirts as well as volunteer passes.
“We’re helping and working for Josh Hawley and going around and asking people to commit their vote to Josh Hawley and getting them to sign a form,” senior Young Republicans member Olivia Sowers said. “We did some training last night but it was really just walking us through what we would be doing and signing up through Mrs. Lidholm, our sponsor.”
The group of conservatives were able to volunteer by signing up with personal finance teacher, Susan Lidholm. Senior Hunter Rogers said everybody was enthusiastic because as Young Republicans it was exciting to see and support the republican president. Freshman Perry Brummett supports President Trump because of their shared stances on issues on money, unemployment and health care.
“I just think that the people that earn their money should get to keep their money and shouldn’t be given to the public and stuff, and also like we’ve gotten a lot more jobs since [President] Trump was elected and I think that’s really good for America,” Brummett said. “I don’t support free health care and stuff like that because I think you should work for everything.”
RBHS’ Young Democrats’ feelings, however, ran opposite to their counterparts. Junior Anushka Jalisatgi, a member of Young Democrats, said the club did not organize a counter rally but some individuals were.
“I think a lot of people had planned on going, but then it just didn’t work out,” Jalisatgi said. “I was going to go, but then we decided not to go because of the crowds and the weather and we thought ‘well we could just see it on T.V.’ and we didn’t really have this like burning desire to go see him in person, you know it would be cool to see him, but not that much.”
Rogers said after the Young Republicans finished requesting people to commit to voting for republican Missouri senator candidate Josh Hawley, they were told there were no more spots left in the airport hanger, where the president would speak.
“We were all distressed and had no idea what was going on,” Rogers said. “This was accompanied by rain and cold weather, making it quite the adventure. We were able to get through the whole crowd because Mrs. Lidholm waved her volunteer pass at everyone.”
Once the volunteers got into the hanger, many students split up and Rogers said the same thing was repeated: “We are actually looking at the President of the United States.”
“I believe it was so important for [President] Trump to visit Columbia because Missouri is a key factor in deciding if the Republicans or Democrats get power in the senate,” Rogers said. “[President] Donald Trump held this event because he needs Hawley in the senate.”
Story by Emily Oba
Fourteen miles from the Columbia Regional Airport where Air Force 1 touched down Thursday so that President Donald Trump could campaign for Republican Senate contender Josh Hawley, Columbians met at the courthouse to protest President Trump’s initiatives.