A line of rally-goers formed outside JQH Arena at Missouri State University as early as 7:00 Friday morning in preparation for the rally featuring President Donald Trump. The president is scheduled to be in Springfield for a 6:30 campaign event for US Senate candidate, Josh Hawley.
Many were there to just see the president. Some said their opinion of Trump has only grown stronger after his first 18 months in office. One of those supporters was Korean War Veteran John White.
“He’s the best president we’ve ever had. He really is. He’s a business man, and that’s what we need to run this country,” White said.
Those waiting hours ahead of the rally are sporting Trump-themed t-shirts and hats. A few people hold Trump flags, and others are treating it like a tailgate party.
Josh Wagner said that he still supports Trump because he’s a “promise keeper.”
“He’s done what he said he was going to do in his last campaign,“ Wagner said.
Patty Knight, who attended the rally with her husband, Charles Knight, said "We are super excited. I mean, to have him come to the people, and this is what he seems to do all the time," she said. "He goes to the locations. He talks to the people. Have you ever seen a politician or president do that before?"
Charles Knight feels Trump has made great gains in moving the country forward.
"We're now the number one oil producer in the world thanks to the things that he has managed to deregulate from the EPA and such," he said.
Vendors set up tents and booths near the arena to sell an assortment of Trump merchandise.
By mid-afternoon, a group of protesters had gathered outside Strong Hall on the MSU campus and eventually made their way closer to the JQH Arena, shouting slogans like, “What do we want? Healthcare! When do we want it? Now!”
Hawley is running against incumbent US Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.