Sunday, April 29, 2018

Attendance at Trump rally in Macomb County, Michigan, 4/28/18: 5500 inside, 5000 outside. Fire officials cut off entry at 5500, "leaving an estimated 5000 people outside to watch the rally on a giant tv monitor." "We have always been known as land of the Reagan Democrats, but right now we are known as Trump Country"-Macomb Daily

"Approximately 5,500 people were inside the new 118,000-square-foot sports building when Washington Township Fire officials cut off further entry, leaving an estimated 5,000 people outside to watch the rally on a giant television monitor."

Above, 4/28/18, "Thousands of Trump supporters gather for rally in Washington Township," Mlive, You Tube (preceded by ad which you can skip)

  Above, 4/28/2018, "President Trump welcomed by ‘old friends' in Macomb County, " Macomb Daily, Mitch Hotts 

Above, 4/28/18, "President Trump's visit to Michigan: From left, Michael Sakowski, 14, Matthew Sakowski, 12, Dylan King, 13, Evan Sakowski, 9, and Bryce King, 13, all of Macomb Township, pose for a photo during President Donald J. Trump's Make America Great Again rally at Total Sports Park in Washington Township, Saturday, April 28, 2018." Detroit Free Press photo

Below: Attendee who waited in line 4 hours:


4/28/18, "Trump rally fires up crowd in Washington Township,", Norb Franz

"President Donald Trump called on thousands of enthusiastic supporters during a spirited rally Saturday night in Washington Township to work to get Republicans elected in the mid-term elections. Touting tax reform, low unemployment, tougher trade policy, reductions in regulations and demanding stronger border security, Trump delighted the audience who shouted their satisfaction and encouragement throughout his 80-minute speech.... 

Approximately 5,500 people were inside the new 118,000-square-foot sports building when Washington Township Fire officials cut off further entry, leaving an estimated 5,000 people outside to watch the rally on a giant television monitor.

Trump halted his speech for about five minutes and called for a doctor when one person inside suffered a medical issue. Township Fire Chief Brian Tyrell reported about 10 people needed medical assistance at the complex at 30 Mile and Powell roads just east of M-53 but none were serious enough to require transport to a hospital.... 

On infrastructure, the president unexpectedly promised repairs will be made to the Soo Locks in the Upper Peninsula.

“The Soo Locks are going to hell, you know that, right? We’re going to get them fixed up.”...

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office reported no problems Saturday resulting in arrests. 

Trump’s visit to the township, in northern Macomb County, was his first to the county since his election victory in November 2016. He held two campaign rallies in the county in 2016 – one during the Republican primary campaign and the other, at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights attended by about 20,000 people, just two days before the November election.

Macomb County, long known as the land of the Reagan Democrats, helped propel Trump to victory in Michigan and the White House in the 2016 Election against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump defeated Clinton in Macomb County, 53.6 percent to 42.1 percent.

The difference in votes was 48,348 – more than three times the amount of his statewide, 13,478-vote margin. Trump beat Clinton in 19 or 24 cities and townships in the county (votes cast by residents in the villages of Armada, New Haven and Romeo are tabulated with neighboring communities).

Most municipalities in the northern half of Macomb County are Republican strongholds, and GOP dominance in elected offices down to township boards. 

Before Trump took to the podium, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and former Congresswoman Candice Miller was the first speaker and fired up the partisan crowd, leading the crowd in the first “make America great again” shout. 

We have always been known as land of the Reagan Democrats, but right now we are known as Trump Country,” Miller said, drawing a roar of approval.... 

Brian Tinnion, one of the partners at Total Sports Complex, said the first rally attendees began arriving at approximately 9 a.m. By 10 a.m., about 500 were in line – six hours before the doors were scheduled to open to the public. The crowd doubled by noon and continued to swell. 

A sea of people,” he said about 90 minutes before Trump was scheduled to appear. “It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. 

Once people cleared security before entering the sports facility, the line to reach the portable restrooms outside was approximately 30 minutes. 

Rose Ramirez, her husband and their three children drove from Grand Rapids to attend the rally, said they arrived around 12:30 p.m.

“I just wanted the experience of being here,” she said while relaxing as the couple’s three kids – ages 15, 12 and 10 – wore new “American Dreamer” caps purchased at the rally."

"The Associated Press contributed to this report."



"The parking lot quickly filled up as some parked a couple of miles away from the site and walked along dirt roads to get to the event." 

4/28/2018, "President Trump welcomed by ‘old friends' in Macomb County, " Macomb Daily, Mitch Hotts 

"A seemingly never-ending line of supporters turned out on a windy, cloudy Saturday to attend a campaign-style political rally in northern Macomb County featuring President Donald Trump. 

Many wore the familiar red baseball caps with white trim emblazoned with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” as they waited to get inside the rally at Total Sports Park in Washington Township. 

“This turnout says to me that people are happy he’s our president and that they believe in him,” said Robert Golembiewski of Petoskey, Mich. “He’s making our country safe, creating better incomes and doing what’s right for the people.”

Those waiting listened to the music of Kid Rock, Lee Greenwood and Aerosmith being played over the loudspeakers, but the conversations centered on Trump and what they said were his victories on Capitol Hill.

Ed and Racheal Schoendorff of Manchester, Mich., gave the president high marks for his time in the White House so far. 

Considering the uphill battles he’s faced, considering all the drama and considering everything that’s stood in his way, and the fact that he continues to get things done, with tax reform and the Korean situation, and taking care of veterans, I feel he’s doing pretty well,” Schoendorff said.

His wife agreed.

“We can now say Merry Christmas to each other again,” she said.

“We are trying to get rid of all of this political correctness so that people can be real people again. I feel he’s doing a fabulous job.” 

The parking lot quickly filled up as some parked a couple of miles away from the site and walked along dirt roads to get to the event. 

The crowd’s enthusiasm level
was reminiscent of similar events when Trump was a presidential candidate in 2016.

“He’s like a rock star -- he’s fulfilling promises he made as a candidate,” said Arnold Molten of Port Huron. “It’s good to see him, he’s like an old friend of ours.”

Total Sports Park on Powell Road between 30 Mile and 31 Mile roads was already packed with several thousand people as even more waited outside hoping to get in. Others stood in front of a Jumbotron video screen, where they planned to watch the president speak. 

One Macomb County Sheriff’s Office official, who did not want to be named, said we’ve worked rock concerts with Santana and big-name entertainers, but we’ve never seen these numbers of people.”"...

4/28/18, "MASSIVE Crowd Seen at Trump MAGA Rally in Washington, Michigan April 28, 2018," Live Satellite News, You Tube  

Added: Saginaw, Michigan turned to Trump-BBC

1/28/18, "The Paul Simon city that turned to Trump," BBC News, Owen Amos, Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw River
Saginaw - a blue-collar city made famous by Paul Simon - surprisingly voted for Donald Trump in 2016. What do they think now?

It's January in Michigan, and Thomas Darabos is walking on water. 

He finds a spot, carves a hole in the ice, and sits on a bucket. Then he waits for a bite. 

He and 10 others are fishing on the Saginaw River. Their frozen breath hangs in the air. 

Tall, smoky chimneys used to line the water. Now, naked trees form silhouettes against the blank sky. 

"We had all kinds of industry, but everything's gone," says Darabos. 

"They've got a couple of factories here and there, but it's not like when I was a kid.

"Business was booming in Saginaw. Now it's dead."
How does he feel now? "He's creating jobs," he says.

"He's bringing money from different countries back to the United States. I think that's a good thing."

A few yards away, Gerald Welzin lifts his line from the water and nods. Like Darabos, he voted Republican for the first time in 2016.

"I think he's doing a great job," says the 61-year-old landscaper.

"A lot of people criticise him, badmouth him, say a lot of bad things about him. But you've got to give the man a chance."

On the river bank, a lyric has been sprayed on a huge, concrete bridge support.

"It took me four days to hitch-hike from Saginaw," it says. "I've gone to look for America."

The line is from America, a Simon and Garfunkel song about young love, adventure and optimism. According to a local promoter, Paul Simon wrote it in Saginaw in 1966.

If he came back now, he may not recognise the place.

For decades, Saginaw was a General Motors city. In 1979, the manufacturer employed 26,100 people here.

Now, just one GM facility remains, employing fewer than 500 people (a former GM plant, run by the Chinese firm Nexteer, employs around 5,000 more).

When the jobs went, the people followed. In 1960, almost 100,000 people lived in Saginaw. Now it's fewer than half that.

The population of Saginaw County has also declined, though less sharply.

As a working-class city, Saginaw supported Democrats. From 1988 to 2012, the county voted blue

More widely, Michigan was part of the so-called "blue wall" of solid Democrat states. And then, in 2016, Donald Trump came along.

Mr Trump's victory in Saginaw County was narrow - he won just 1,074 more votes than Hilary Clinton - but notable.

County by county, brick by brick, the blue wall came down. For the first time since 1988, Michigan voted Republican.

One year on, Trump supporters are not hard to find in Saginaw

In the city centre, there's a workshop in an empty car park. On one wall - in view of the Democrats' office - is a Trump sign.

Rick Coombs, 32, put it there before the election. "What I really, really liked, was the same thing people dislike about him," he says.

"He's not the most politically correct person, and I'm 100% fine with that."

Coombs, born and raised in Saginaw, owns three businesses, including a gun shop called Reaction Armory.

The Trump sign has been defaced and his companies targeted online. "False accusations, cheesy little Trump comments, poor ratings, things like that," says Coombs.

(He is not alone - in August, a Republican event at a Saginaw pizzeria was cancelled after the business was threatened).

Coombs, though, will not take his sign down.

"One hundred per cent, I'm keeping it up," he says. "You're not going to scare me out of here. That's just not going to happen."

Coombs gives President Trump a "solid eight" (out of 10) for his first year in office. "Look at the numbers, look at the GDP," he says.

He's disappointed the healthcare bill failed, but hopes tax cuts, passed before Christmas, will benefit his businesses. He also thinks the president is unfairly criticised.

"Here's the problem I really have with the left," he says.

"Every president - I mean every president - is easy to make fun of. No matter what he does, they will be against it, simply because it's Trump.

"They're still sore losers. They're still salty about the situation."

Darryl Wimbley knows he's not a typical Trump supporter.

Darryl (l) made 1000+ calls for Trump
The 49-year-old was born in Alabama to a black mother and Arabic father [growing up, his father spoke to him only in Arabic]. He moved to Saginaw with his mother aged three.

"Back then, to have a baby out of wedlock was unacceptable," he says. "They would send you north."

He spent 20 years as car salesman - "I said I'd do it for two months and I made ten grand" - but had to stop after a motorcycle accident.

In 2008, he voted for Barack Obama. But he has an admission.

"The most racist thing I ever did," he says.

"I didn't care what his views were. I didn't care. He was black, and that was it. I didn't question it."

After Obama came to office, he did question it, voting Republican for the first time in 2012. And, when Donald Trump became a candidate, he listened. 

"He said a lot of things that I thought, but would never say in public," he says.

Such as?

"Illegal immigrants do cause a lot of crime," he replies.

"I lived in Chicago, I know what immigrants do. I understand MS-13 (a mainly Central American gang), I understand the Latin Kings, I understand Maniac Disciples.

"I've seen it first hand, and most of them are illegals."

After telling his family he supported Mr Trump, his sister and mother stopped speaking to him. Some black people, he says, called him an "Uncle Tom, a sell-out".

But he still supports the president.

"The tax bill I like, the jobs are coming back, we're getting rid of regulation," he says. "A big thing is coal mines for me, because my family are coal miners."

And, like Rick Coombs, he thinks Mr Trump is treated unfairly.

"If you are the person in a room who everyone hates, you could actually give someone a million dollars - and they'll complain you didn't wrap it right."

Saginaw is a sprawling, un-pretty city.

Unloved, unneeded homes have been razed. Buildings - such as the red-brick railway station, closed since 1986 - lie derelict. And graffiti is common.

There are, however, signs of life. 

The old Bancroft Hotel is now home to "luxury" apartments, a coffee shop, and a cocktail bar. Twenty-four brownstone homes have gone up by the river.

There are boutiques, craft breweries, and murals on street corners.

One piece of graffiti that used to say "Saginasty" now reads "Saginawesome".

Jim Hines, a 62-year-old doctor who lives in Saginaw, thinks the city's future is "bright".

Dr Hines has delivered thousands of babies, owns a medical practice, and spent four years in the Central African Republic, running two hospitals.

He has seven sons, 12 grandchildren, and a third-degree black belt in taekwondo.

He also rides a Harley, has flown planes since he was 16, and - if that's not enough - wants to become the next governor of Michigan.

Dr Hines grew up in a poor family in Warsaw, Indiana - he met his wife, Martha, in the pizza place where he washed dishes - and is a long-time Republican.

The party will choose their candidate in August, before the state-wide election in November.

He says he is an underdog - early polling suggests the same - but he takes inspiration from another underdog, now sitting in the White House.

"I'm not bashful in my support of Donald Trump," he says.

"Am I going out campaigning saying 'Hey, I'm Trump-like, vote for me?' No. 

"But I am an outsider, I am a businessman, I want to put people first."

Dr Hines, a Christian, is not put off by the president's crudeness -

"It's not how I would express myself, but I think he speaks from his heart" - or his tough line on immigration.

"To have a sovereign country you need borders," he says

"Immigration - great. But not illegal immigration."

He supports the wall on the Mexican border, and thinks Mr Trump's policies - especially the tax cuts - have rejuvenated Saginaw.

"I think there's a lot of optimism," he says. "There wasn't so much before Trump. It was like 'Saginaw is kind of dwindling away'."

In Tony's Original Restaurant - a cosy, old-fashioned diner - a group of Dr Hines' supporters has come to meet the media (a local TV station is also here).

They are anti-abortion, low-tax people. Judy Anderson, a 73-year-old retired nurse, "had to study and think" before voting for Mr Trump.

But, one year on, she is proud of what he's done - even if she doesn't like his tweets.

"The companies being taxed less are rewarding their employees, left and right," she says. "And that's a positive thing."

On the next table, Sue Lynn, 63, also admires the president. But her language is more colourful; more Trump-like.

"If you've got an infestation of rats, you call the guy to come in," she says.

"You don't care if his crack's showing. You don't care if he's swearing.

"You don't care if he's got tobacco-stained teeth.

"You want the rats taken out.""...images from BBC


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