Trump Promotes Football, Fracking, Fossil Fuels At Circleville Rally

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CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — President Donald J. Trump spoke Saturday before more than 5,000 people in Circleville.

At the Pickaway County fairground, supporters stood shoulder to shoulder. No social distance was observed and barely a third of them wore face masks the same day that Ohio set a new record for daily COVID-19 cases. A giant U.S. flag hung from a crane on one side of the stage and a queue of heavy trucks were lined up as a barricade between the fairground and a group of residences.

Supporters wait for President Donald Trump during the Make America Great Again Victory Rally on Saturday, October 24, 2020 in Circleville, Ohio. [Chris Day | WOUB]
Mathew (who chose not to reveal his last name) was in the sit-down area near the center stage. He said he came with his wife and kid to see Trump before he gets re-elected.

“Why am I pro-Trump? Pro-life, pro-military, pro-second amendment.” His wife nodded in agreement.

Jennifer and her mom, Nancy (who also chose not to reveal their last names) said they came from Orion, 30 minutes away from Circleville, but they are originally from Marietta.

“We think Donald Trump has been great for the country and we think he’s gonna continue to be great for the country; and the other people, yeah, not so good for America,” Jennifer said.

After a 90-minute delay, Trump entered the stage to the sound of “God Bless The USA,” a patriotic song by country artist Lee Greenwood, smiling and clapping while his supporters cheered and raised their cellphones to capture the moment. The large TV screens on both sides of the stage read “Big Ten football is back!” and that is precisely how the president started his address.

Alluding to the Buckeye’s earlier win, 52 to 17, he said “sleepy Joe,” a reference to Joe Biden, blamed him for shutting down the football game during the pandemic, but he said he’s the one who got it opened because, “I know life in Ohio is not complete without the glory of Ohio State football.”

Targeting his speech to Ohioans, Trump assured he will foster fracking activities as well as promote fossil fuels and the jobs that come with both. Alluding to Ohio being a key battleground state in presidential elections, he said, “In 10 days we’re going to win this great state and we are going to win four more years in the White House.”

During his hour and 12 minute delivery, he promised the people of Circleville and Ohio that he will support the police, protect their Second Amendment right to own guns, protect Social Security and Medicare, keep borders closed for immigrants, lower taxes and medicine prices, secure jobs and continue to foster products “made in the USA.”

Robert Mink and his family drove from Illinois. He works in a steel factory. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB]
In the crowd, Robert Mink, who drove more than eight hours from Illinois with his wife, son, daughter and sister-in-law, said he works for a steel factory and came to support Trump because he saved their jobs.

“If it wouldn’t have been for Trump, that plant would’ve been shut down,” he said. “It was shut down. When he was elected, they started calling us all back to work.”

Sitting in the area set aside for disabled people, Rickey Bennet, a veteran who has served in the military for 21 years, said he supported Trump’s re-election because he has put the trust and power back in American’s hands, and because he keeps his promises.

“He may not have the flowery words but he’s a doer and he gets things done. Unlike the other politicians in DC that are just talkers and no action.”

Rickey Bennet, a veteran who has served in the military for 21 years, came with his wife to support Trump. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB]
Trump also promised that if elected he will, “stop the radical indoctrination of our students and restore patriotic education to our schools.” He celebrated having appointed many judges on the Republican’s side and called it a record.

“By the end of my term we will have 300 — give and take — federal judges, close to 60 court of appeal judges and three supreme court judges.”

He deflected any wrong decisions during the pandemic, blamed China for it and assured that his administration saved 2 million lives. He talked about how he and his family got COVID-19 and got better, and justified not isolating because he “couldn’t stay in the basement” of the White House.

Nichole Schaeffer, a young woman in the audience, said, “In regards to COVID, nobody has said what they would’ve done differently. This is something that no one has ever had to deal with before. The only thing that I hear is opposition against him.”

Anti-Trump Rally

Outside the Trump rally, some 70 protesters gathered along one side of the street in Lancaster Pike. Rev. Derrick Holmes, senior pastor of Circleville’s Second Baptist Church, where he has served for the past seven years, held up the megaphone and encouraged endurance for protesters who were insulted by Trump supporters passing by.

He said he was there in defense of democracy and that the country’s legacy and future are in danger if Trump wins four more years. “I think we are so divided, the realities of racism, of anti-blackness, of bigotry, of sexism, homo and hetero-sexism, all so prevalent that are becoming normative.”

Zack Brooks, a young factory worker from Circleville, summoned the peaceful protest via Facebook. He said that as a devout Democrat he felt it was necessary to show opposition to Trump during his first official visit to Circleville.

Anti-Trump protesters gathered outside Trump’s rally in Circleville in a peaceful demonstration. [Claudia Cisneros | WOUB]
“This is the first time something of this extent has popped up (in Circleville), so we got a lot of people who are coming from a lot of places.”

Brooks said that he finds it crazy that people believe that Trump has built a strong economy.

“I think you got to look at the numbers a little closer. When jobs started to rise at the beginning of his administration, we’re talking about low-income, part-time and seasonal jobs. We’ve gotta have jobs that are full time, that offer good benefits, that offer a living wage. Jobs don’t matter if people have to work three or four of them just to survive.”

Peaceful Transition?

Current polls show Donald Trump and Joe Biden in a very tight race, with Biden leading, and there have been questions about whether Trump would agree to step down if he loses. Trump asked before he left to attend other rallies: “And then they talk about, ‘If you lose will this be a friendly transition?’ And I said, when I won, did they give me friendly transition?”

Trump shouted his motto, ‘Make America great again, again,” urged Ohioans to go vote, and said goodbye dancing to the 1970s Village People tune “YMCA.”

With just over a week until Election Day, Trump was scheduled to hold rallies in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

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