by Ashley Byrd and Brian Hauswirth, Missourinet
Thousands of people packed a hangar and surrounding industrial parking lots at the Columbia Regional Airport (COU) in mid-Missouri Thursday evening, for President Donald Trump’s rally.
Rain and colder temperatures did not seem to impact the crowds, some of whom camped out in tents overnight near the airport. Many wore winter coats and gloves during the event, which was outdoors.
The event was billed as a rally to support Hawley, but signage, jumbotrons, souvenirs and ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” caps were all Trump. At our observation, attendees were split almost evenly between men and women of all ages.
We spoke to dozens of people in line who were attending their first Trump event.
“I said we’ve got to this rally, I want to see President Trump, said Ms. Oates from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. “I didn’t know Hawley was going to be here, all I read was President Trump, so I’m excited.”
Air Force One pulled up to the bleachers at the hangar and the crowd welcomed the president’s entrance with concert-pitch enthusiasm.
Two topics that resonated with this crowd include the current caravan going through Mexico and the recent U.S. Supreme Court nomination involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“These are tough people. These are not angels. These are not little angels. These are tough people and we’re not letting them into our country. They’re not coming in illegally,” Trump says to applause.
President Trump also blasted Democrats for the recent vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“A few weeks ago we achieved that historic victory for our Constitution and for the rule of law. We defeated the Democrat mob and proudly swore in the newest member of the United States Supreme Court,” Trump says.
He notes Missouri’s U.S. Senate race warrants two visits to the Show-Me State within five days.
“This will be the election of (Judge Brett) Kavanaugh, the caravans, law order, tax cuts, and common sense,” says Trump.
Defending his wish to ban birthright citizenship, which to date has been allowed by the 14th Amendment, Trump dubbed it “birth tourism” during his approximately one-hour speech.
“Where pregnant mothers from all over the world traveled to America to make their children instant lifelong citizens with guaranteed everything,” he says.
President Trump also criticized what he calls “chain migration.”
President Trump told the audience to send Josh Hawley to the U.S. Senate next week and zeroed in on Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill by name. Hawley joined Trump on stage and likened his opponent to Hillary Clinton, amid chants of “lock her up.”
It’s the first time President Trump has visited Columbia.
Numerous other presidents have visited Columbia over the years, including Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter.
While the rally happened in rural Missouri, the visit has attracted major news media attention from national outlets because of Missouri’s U.S. Senate race. Many analysts believe it could determine which party controls the Senate in January.
Listen to the entire Trump rally speech at Columbia Regional Airport
(1 hour, 9 minutes)