Kanye West and President Donald Trump are among the celebrities expected to be in attendance at the LSU-Alabama game. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reported that West and Trump are a few of the notable people expected in Tuscaloosa for the marquee game.
“No game is bigger than LSU at Alabama. President Trump will be there. Kanye and Justin Timberlake are going,” Miller noted in his Bleacher Report column.
West is rumored to be in town to perform his Sunday Service in Tuscaloosa the following day. The rapper does not have ties to either school as he briefly attended Chicago State University.
Trump is coming off a campaign appearance in downtown Atlanta where he unveiled his Black Voices for Trump initiative. The University of Alabama’s student government issued a warning against “disruptive behavior” earlier this week.
“By disruptive behavior, we are asking students to be respectful to all students and staff and avoid altercations,” SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Rothfarb said, per Fox News. “My email had nothing to do with anyone’s First Amendment rights and I am sorry for any confusion. Please express yourself and especially your pride for the Tide!”
Why Is Trump Attending the LSU-Alabama Game?
Trump’s attendance at the biggest college football game of the season is just as strategic as his stop in Atlanta. Tuscaloosa, Alabama represents a part of the country where Trump’s support is strongest. Trump received more than 62 percent of the votes in Alabama during the 2016 election, per The New York Times.
Presidents attending a regular-season college football game have been rare, aside from the traditional appearance at the annual Army-Navy contest. There have been other memorable presidential appearances at college football games including Richard Nixon attending the Arkansas-Texas matchup in 1969. Nixon found himself in a bit of controversy after declaring Texas the national champion despite Penn State also being one of the contenders. It is a move some believe cost him votes in Pennsylvania.
Nixon’s adviser Pat Buchanan noted it was a “bad mistake, especially if you want to carry Pennsylvania in ’72,” per the Morning Call.
Fortunately for Trump, college football now has an official system where a national champion is declared so he will not find himself in a similar predicament.
Trump’s Attendance Will Require Additional Security at the LSU-Alabama Game
Anytime the president attends a sporting event there is an added element to planning given the additional safety measures required. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne admitted that Trump’s attendance will require additional due diligence on the part of the university.
“Anytime the president of the United States comes to an event, it takes the planning and detail to another level,” Byrne explained to Yahoo Sports. “Our university has been doing a great job working with the people from the White House for this big weekend.”
The timing of West and Trump’s visit to Tuscaloosa appears to be an interesting coincidence. West has been vocal in his support for Trump throughout his presidency.