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President Trump stumps for Barr, energizes crowd at EKU campus campaign stop

President Donald Trump had the crowd on its feet during most of his remarks Saturday night at Alumni Coliseum on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmon. Trump was on hand to campaign for three-term 6th District Congressman Andy Barr.

 

By JIM & TAMMY BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 (RICHMOND) — President Donald Trump energized a crowd of more than 6,100 people packed in Alumni Coliseaum Saturday evening on the campus of Richmond’s Eastern Kentucky University.

The campaign rally aimed at supporting Republican Congressman Andy Barr in his bid for re-election also features comments from Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Barr.

Barr faces Democrat Amy McGrath in a competitive race to represent Kentucky’s
6th Congressional District.

The president was scheduled to begin his remarks at 7 p.m., but when he failed to appear on stage on time, the crowd began to chant “Trump! Trump! Trump!” while others in the audience danced and waved their Make American Great Again signs to the thundering thump of the music filling the auditorium

The crowd represented people from all age groups. Men and women of all ages wore the well-known red “Make American Great Again” hats; many of the younger crowd sported red, white and blue MAGA toboggans. As the president’s appearance neared, Trump campaign workers distributed campaign signs and threw Trump t-shirts and hats form the floor up into the crowd.

According to event organizers, more than 1,000 people who had tickets to the rally were unable to get inside due to the capacity crowd.

Outside the coliseum, hundreds of protestors lined the Eastern Bypass between Lancaster Avenue and Kit Carson Drive, herded behind fencing. The issues protestors focused on varied from women’s rights to LGBT rights and more.

Several protestors carried signs that said simply, “I believe in science,” a reference to a letter signed by more than 100 EKU faculty opposing Trump’s visit. In the letter, they wrote that the Trump administration had been hostile to academia and consistently sought to undermine the legitimacy of scientific inquiry and sought to discredit the principles of debate and free speech.

After hearing that some students were fearful of the potential of violence on the campus erupting during the President’s visit, EKU President Michael Benson met with students to assure them they would be safe.

Trump’s introduction brought thunderous applause that shook the arena floor. As he has done in his recent stops while campaigning for Republican candidates, Trump spent much of his time recounting his administration’s successes, including the successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the arrival home of American pastor Andrew Brunson who had been held in Turkey.

The mention of Kavanaugh’s name brought tremendous applause from the crowd as Trump derided the Democrats involved in the process.

“What happened to him was so unfair, but we stuck by him all the way,” Trump said. “Rand Paul and Mitch, we all stuck by him.”

Trump said the Democrats in Washington “were on a mission to obstruct and destroy; the Democrats have become consumed by their chilling lust for power.”

He thanked the first-responders, utility crews and National Guard units who are assisting with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

“We’re living by our motto — promises made, promise kept,” Trump told the crowd.

He spent part of his time praising the record of three-term Congressman Andy Barr, telling the crowd that a vote for Barr “could make the difference between unbelievable continued success or failure.

“The only reason to vote Democrat is if you’re tired of winning,” he said. “I need you to get your friends, get your family, get your neighbors, get your co-workers and get out and vote for Andy Barr.”

“A vote for Andy is a vote for more jobs, more wealth and safety, and a vote to reject the Democratic politics of hate and division.”

Trump promised that Republicans will cut your taxes, boost your pay, protect Social Security, defend free speech, religious liberty and the Second Amendment.”

“We are standing up for American and the great people of Kentucky, and we proudly standing for our national anthem,” he said.

FAKE NEWS? A Trump campaign rally would not be complete unless the President took a few verbal jabs at the news media, which included camera crews from the major TV and cable news networks, as well as regional and statewide media.

“Look back at the fake news media,” Trump said, prompting loud boos and jeers from the crowd. “You know, I would like to walk into a place like this once and not have these guys here.”

Security on the EKU campus was tight, and access to Alumni Coliseum was carefully controlled. Uniformed officers were stationed all over the grounds around the coliseum, and included officers from the Richmond Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, EKU Campus Police, Kentucky State Police and additional private security from firms hired by the Trump campaign.

The Eastern Bypass from I-75 to the EKU campus was lined with Trump memorabilia vendors. Leaving the auditorium grounds, a vendor on the corner of Veterans Drive and the Eastern Bypass told the Nelson County Gazette their sales had been “great” throughout the day.

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