The Ides of March may not have been a propitious day for a leader to speak in front of thousands, but that didn't stop the bigger-than-life President Donald J. Trump from speaking to his supporters in Nashville who believe the new President is on the right track to "Make America Great Again." I talked to Christian supporters from Clarksville, Ohlahoma City, and a woman from Hawaii who spoke admiringly about Trump's financial policies, his campaign, his foreign policies and his promised overhaul of the failed Obamacare.
According to reports, people began gathering in the wee hours of the morning even though the doors at the Municipal Auditorium were not scheduled to open until 3:30 in the afternoon. However, by 3:30 the line already went all the way up to Capitol Hill from the auditorium and circled the hill, extending down Charlotte. One news source was already estimating 40,000 people lined up three hours before the rally. If anything, attendance estimates were low.
In contrast, numerous reports played up the protesters, of which I only saw one small group -- maybe 20 or so -- chanting "Donald Trump's not welcome here," and a couple of young men carrying "I Stand with Planned Parenthood" signs. On the other hand, the over-a-mile-long line of supporters was standing 2 - 4 abreast at first, and then 6 - 10 crushed side by side on the sidewalk and into the street as time for the rally drew closer. It would have been hard to miss any large protests walking the entire mile or more around the Capitol Hill, down James Robertson Parkway and to the Auditorium, but none were seen other than the small group already mentioned.
As 7:00 approached, many of the Trump supporters turned to their phones and YouTube to watch the President speak as the throng stood outside with the Municipal Auditorium finally in sight. One humorous moment was when Trump responded to a protester saying that small interruption would be the major news story tomorrow. Trump certainly understands the mainstream media.
There were reports that protesters and anti-Trumpers grabbed up many tickets to keep Trump supporters out, and indeed, thousands with tickets who waited more than three hours in the cold never made it in, so the protesters may have had some success. When all was said and done, however, President Trump and his supporters had the best of it with a hugely successful turnout, excellent morale and enthusiasm in the long, cold line, as shivering but happy supporters watched our President on YouTube while standing outside the venue where he spoke. It turns out Donald Trump was very much welcome here after all.
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