‘That man is working for me…’
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(Ben Sellers) Jeffrey A. Hoffman of Mint Hill, N.C., said he was the very last person admitted into President Donald Trump’s rally Monday in Charlotte.
“I tried to talk my friends and family into coming, but no luck,” he said.
It just so happened that being on his own was a lucky stroke when a security guard announced one more person was allowed in and turned away the couple just ahead of him.
Hoffman, who said he arrived around 4:45 p.m. for the 7 p.m. rally, estimated that there were around six rows left in line with about 400 people per row as he made his way in.
Some of those in attendance, such as Sharon Anderson, had been standing in line for four days.
That dedication got her an invitation onstage from President Trump’s son Eric, one of several opening speakers, along with his wife, Lara.
He called Anderson “an amazing person who had camped out on Thursday because that’s how passionate she is.”
Interestingly, Anderson, who lives in Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains, said she had never become involved with politics before Trump.
“If [only] more people would say Donald Trump is their president … because that man is working for me,” she said.
Others had similar stories of being inspired by the larger-than-life chief-executive.
Justin Santiago, 18, and Je’Sean Barkley, 19, said they had come from Chapel Hill for their first-ever rally.
Both will be first-time voters in Tuesday’s primary, although Trump faces little competition on the Republican side.
Santiago, who moved from New York with his parents to escape the high taxes and the filth of the Big Apple, said that what turned him into a Trump supporter was the president’s willingness to speak the truth rather than play political games.
“We hate the lies,” he said. “… And there’s a lot of people like us.”
The two also had been put off by the Left’s hard swerve toward socialism.
“Basically, we love freedom,” said Barkley.
Natalie DiDonato, a Realtor in Columbia, S.C., said she had always regarded herself as conservative but had previously considered Bill Clinton “the last good president” due to his working with a Republican Congress to balance the budget.
She, too, appreciated the blunt and refreshing candor of Trump’s leadership.
“I am from the North and I like his attitude,” she said of the former Manhattan hotel mogul.
She and her husband criticized the “fake news” for its role in fomenting the current hyper-partisan political climate. However, she noted that Trump had even helped to lift up his biggest adversaries.
“They want him in office,” she said. “They need him.”
The crowd that filled the Bojangles Coliseum (which lists its official capacity at just under 10,000) bucked the latest media feeding-frenzy by shrugging off the attempts at creating a panic over the coronavirus. Many have suggested will lead to a drop in public activities for fear of contagion.
Mike Oaks, an antiques dealer from just west of Charlotte, noted that some of the very media covering the rally were likely among those responsible for the mass epidemic anxieties.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the same people here blowing it out of proportion,” he said. “The liberal press is gonna make it out to be worse than it is, anything that will hurt Trump.”
During the president’s speech, which came as a record day in the stock market dispelled a parallel panic over the possible onset of a recession, Trump urged cooler heads to prevail. He also outlined some of the ways his administration was getting in front of the health crisis.
Trump said he had met with some of the heads of major pharmaceutical companies earlier that day. “They’re gonna have vaccines, I think, relatively soon. … We will bring these therapies to the market as rapidly as possible.”
He said he was also looking into ways to prevent infected people from entering the U.S., although his previous efforts to close the border out of safety concerns had been thwarted by left-wing activists.
“There are fringe globalists who would rather keep our borders open than keep the infection [out],” he said.
He criticized opponents who had sought to exploit the health crisis for political leverage.
“The political attacks—some of the Democrats really must stop,” he said. “We’ve gotta all work together on this one to save our people.”
Nonetheless, the president’s own bipartisan spirit went only as far as preventing a deadly outbreak. When it came to the upcoming election, he freely admitted that he was “trolling” his few remaining opponents by upstaging them in key battleground states.
“Crazy Bernie,” “Mini-Mike,” “Sleepy Joe” and “Pocahontas” all got skewered in turn as Trump touched on a gamut of hot topics ranging from his recent impeachment to his efforts win African–American voters (several of the night’s opening speakers were black, including popular YouTube stars Diamond and Silk).
While “Super Tuesday” was likely to bring into even greater focus the general election race, the recent South Carolina primary already had ended the campaigns of at least three Democratic contenders: Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.
Trump noted that the former two candidates had quickly thrown their endorsements to Biden, and he questioned whether establishment Democrats might be colluding to, once again, freeze out socialist Bernie Sanders.
“They both supported ‘Sleepy Joe,'” Trump said of Buttigieg and Klobuchar. “They made a deal. You know why? Quid pro quo, that’s why,” he said, lightheartedly mocking of the accusations House Democrats made during their impeachment efforts.
He hinted that even if Biden secured the nomination by pretending to be the “moderate” alternative, the flub-prone former vice president might not wind up running his own administration.
“They’re gonna put him into a home, and other people will be running it,” Trump joked.
An array of conservative luminaries were in attendance at the rally, including two of Trump’s closest GOP supporters: Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Trump also gave prominent placement to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, who faces a tough re-election battle.
He noted that he and Tillis had not started off on the best of terms (due to Tillis’s past support for the Mueller investigation and other measures that went against the president’s agenda).
However, they have since become strong allies on issues such as the fight against illegal immigration. North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has supported open-border policies by vetoing a bill that would have required local law-enforcement in places like Charlotte to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“While your super-liberal governor is putting families at risk, your Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has introduced a bill allowing American citizens to sue sanctuary cities,” Trump said.