Missouri State University personnel say President Donald Trump’s visit to the school Friday afternoon will affect operations on the Springfield campus.
The President will appear at the school’s 11,000 seat JQH Arena, which normally houses the MSU basketball team.
Missouri State expects parking and traffic to be similar to other events hosted by the university, but JQH Arena’s Executive Director Keith Boaz says security will be outsourced to the U.S. government for President Trump’s visit.
“Security is the responsibility of the secret service from every aspect of it both inside and outside the venue,” Boaz says.
MSU’s Emergency Manager David Hall says protests and demonstrations are something they have encountered before on campus, but he encourages folks to be respectful.
“Certainly the campus is very open for free speech. It’s an area that we know — it occurs on a regular basis here on campus all the time,” Hall says.
The President is expected to stump for Republican U.S. Senate nominee Josh Hawley, who is locked in a tight battle with Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. Two major polls from NBC and CBS over the past couple of weeks show the candidates tied.
The race has been complicated in the past week after President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was accused of sexual assault while in high school 36 years ago.
McCaskill issued a statement Wednesday night saying she would vote “no” on Kavanaugh because of his embrace of unlimited campaign donations including dark money, not because of the assault charges against him. Hawley has been a staunch supporter of Kavanaugh. He said McCaskill has “sided with (Senate Democratic Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer every single time – for liberals and against Missouri.”
President Trump could also attempt to rally support for Kavanaugh during his Spring field appearance. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday shows Kavanaugh to be an unpopular choice for the Supreme Court so far. Only 31 percent of respondents offered support for the embattled nominee’s confirmation, while 36 percent were against him becoming a Supreme Court justice.
President Trump canceled a trip to Missouri last week ahead of Hurricane Florence, which hit North and South Carolina last Friday and has caused catastrophic flooding since. Trump was scheduled to visit the Show Me Center in southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau last Thursday.
His Friday appearance at the JQH Arena in Springfield starts at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 2:10 p.m. for the rally.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed content for this story