President Donald Trump continued on the campaign trail for 2020 with a rally he held in West Virginia today, where he promised to make a big announcement. The rally had a big attendance, with people lining up for hours ahead of time to get a seat. The rally began at 7 p.m. Eastern, but people were lined up hours earlier at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Here are more photos from the rally today:
On Thursday morning, Trump said he was going to announce something big at the rally but didn’t hint at what it might be. “We have a very big announcement tonight. I believe I’ll be making it in West Virginia, so that’ll be very exciting,” he said. The rumor is that West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice will announce that he’s switching parties and becoming a Republican, CNN reported earlier in the day.
The last time Trump was in West Virginia, it was for a Boy Scouts event that ended up being very controversial after he treated it like another campaign rally. He’s had quite a few rallies since becoming President, the most recent in Ohio.
Here he is, arriving at the rally:
Despite the happy hearts and thumbs up in the above photo, not everyone reacted the same way on all channels:
But his supporters were happy and had lined up a long time to see him:
At the beginning of the rally, Trump told the crowd that they were putting coal miners back to work. “We stopped the EPA intrusion,” he said. “American coal exports are already up… more than 60 percent this year.”
“The change you voted for is happening every single day,” he told the excited crowd. He talked about their united values. “…We believe in God, we believe in family, we believe in country. We support the Constitution… We cherish and defend the Second Amendment. We believe schools should teach students to love our country…”
He talked about standing behind law enforcement, defending borders, and putting America first. He also talked about new telehealth services they are offering for veterans now.
He then talked about unemployment being at a 16-year low. “But don’t forget … the millions of people out there that want jobs that don’t register on the unemployment rolls because they gave up looking for jobs.”
Trump continued, speaking about 3 percent economic growth in West Virginia. “West Virginia, you’re leading the average. When was the last time you heard that?”
Then Trump got to the very important announcement:
“I would like to invite my good friend and your governor Jim Justice up to the stage to share this news with all of you,” Trump shared. It looks like the rumors were right. “These words have not been spoken by a major political figure, meaning governor or Senator, in our country in a long time,” Trump said.
That’s when Justice took the stage and said:
“This man and myself are not politicians. We ran and gave up part of our lives. We ran because we want nothing. We ran as our founding fathers did years and years ago, to serve. I promise you … that no one loves West Virginia more than I… Let me say this to you as bluntly as I can say it… The Democrats walked away from me. … Today I tell you with lots of prayers and lots of thinking… I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor. So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
He continued. “My mom and dad were staunch lovers of Ronald Reagan, staunch Republicans. My mom and dad are no doubt in heaven right now…both saying the same thing… Jimmy, it’s about damn time you came to your senses.”
Then he went on to wonder if they had heard enough by now about the Russians. “The stock market’s at 22,000… This country has hope and we’re on our way. This man is a really dear friend of mine. But you know what else is unbelievable? This man now has a chief of staff that all of us can pronounce is first name.”
He ended by saying that Trump is a good man with real ideas and cares about America.
One person watching the rally noted that the person behind Justice during his speech seemed really excited, and shared a few pictures:
Trump said that Justice’s decision showed that their mission goes beyond left or right. He went on to say that the West Virginians’ dreams and hopes were his and he was fighting for their future.
“The question for Democrats, all Democrats…is whether they are on the side of the voters or they are on the side of the special interest,” Trump said. “The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made up Russian story is because they have no message, no agenda, and no vision.”
The crowd went wild at Trump’s statement. He went on to say they weren’t saying anything about the stock market, manufacturing jobs, or reforms at the VA, or the pipelines he approved. Trump went on to say the Russia story was just an “excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.”
Everyone in the crowd cheered at Trump’s words. He went on to say that prosecutors should be looking at Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, not the Russia story.
“Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign, there never were,” Trump told the crowd. “We didn’t win because of Russia, we won because of you.”
Trump went on to promise that he would keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the country, and the crowd chanted: “USA! USA!” He then talked about finding drug dealers and thieves and criminals. “We are throwing them out of our country and once we are done, we will not let them back in.” The crowd cheered.
He then talked about building the wall on the Southern border, and the crowd cheered.
Trump talked about changes in immigration called the RAISE Act:
The RAISE act switches to a merit based system. You come in largely based on merit. Doesn’t that sound nice? Our proposal prevents new immigrants from going on welfare for at least five years. Our plan favors applicants who can speak English, who can support themselves financially, and who demonstrate valuable skills that will strengthen our economy and strengthen our country. We believe decisions about who immigrates into our country should be based on the best interests of America and the best interests of the American people.”
From there he transitioned into talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare, and then talked about a $1 trillion new infrastructure bill.
“We have airports that look like third world countries. It’s not going to be that way anymore,” he said.
Not everyone in West Virginia was supporting the rally. Here are some photos of protesters who were near the rally, and supporters who were lined up outside:
During the rally, Eric Trump shared this photo: