By Abigail Frazier, News Editor

Before the arrival of President Donald J. Trump on Air Force One, numerous media centers, police officers and secret service wait in anticipation at the Wilson Air Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

According to White House officials, President Trump will be exiting Air Force One at 6:20 p.m. with Vice President Mike Pence, and U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn.

Marsha Blackburn is the U.S Representative for Tennessee’s 7th congressional district.

With the importance of security at the Wilson Air Center, there are numerous police officers, police dogs, and secret service stationed in and outside of the air center. Numerous trucks wait outside in order to provide sniper coverage.

Hours before the arrival of Air Force One, numerous people that are friends and family of the representatives stand in line for a check in at the air center. The only people allowed to enter the air center are media, secret service, police and those that are close to the representatives.

After the landing and traditional wave from President Trump and the similar greetings from Vice President Pence and Blackburn, they all will be driven to the Mckenzie Arena for the rally.

The rally at Mckenzie Arena will start promptly at 7 p.m.

President Trump will be speaking on behalf of the election for Marsha Blackburn with appearances from those coming off of Air Force One.

Even with the day full of road closures, parking lots shutting down, and extra security patrolling, UTC created a place for freedom of speech and political discussion.

According to George Heddleston, senior vice chancellor of communications and marketing, this visit from the President of the United States allowed students and the community of Chattanooga to participate in this midterm election.  

“A public institution like UTC plays a significant role in helping communities engage in civic discourse, debate, and dialogue. We can use this occasion to encourage our campus participation in the democratic process,” Heddleston said.

In regards to safety on campus, students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to carry their UTC IDs with them everywhere on the university campus. Security staff were stationed at all housing locations, the UTC library, Crossroads, and mobile police continued to patrol campus.

Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Yancy Freeman confirms the safety provided for everyone on campus.

“We will make every attempt to minimize inconvenience to our university community and ensure our students, faculty and staff remain safe. We will continue to embrace diversity as a pathway to excellence,” said Freeman.

Starting on Thursday, Nov. 1, multiple lots on UTC’s campus were shut down in preparation for the arrival of President Trump.

These lots included Lot 20, 32, 35, and West Campus Garage 50.

Lots 20 and 32 closed at noon and 3 pm on Thursday and remained closed until the ending of the rally on Sunday. Lot 35 and West Campus Garage 50 both closed at 9 a.m. on Saturday and remained closed until the end of the rally on Sunday.

The ARC, Maclellan Gymnasium, University Center and the food court were all closed the entirety of Sunday. The only food service that was open for students was Crossroads Dining Facility.

A myriad of roads were closed for this rally as well. All streets between East 3rd Street and Vine Street and from Lindsay Street to and including Palmetto Street were blocked off until the conclusion of the rally and the departure of Air Force One and Two.

After the hour and 13 minute long rally, President Trump and Vice President headed back towards Wilson Air Center for departure.

All campus activities and hours will return to normal on Monday, Nov. 5.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

Follow the University Echo Twitter feed for live tweets of President Trump’s campaign rally in McKenzie Arena from our Political Columnist, Logan Rader.


8:13 P.M.:

The rally concludes and the enormous crowd disperses into the rainy Chattanooga streets. President Trump and VP Pence leave Tennessee on Air Force One and Air Force Two, respectively.

7:09 P.M.: 

With the crowd energized by VP Pence, President Donald Trump assumes the stage and is welcomed by the roaring McKenzie Arena crowd. Trump focuses his speech on the familiar topics of economic success of his administration, the progress on the wall, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the USMCA trade agreement, the “decrease” in drug prices, and, of course, his unwavering support of Marsha Blackburn and other Tennessee Republicans.

7:00 P.M.:

Vice President Mike Pence eventually takes the podium and sets the stage for the arrival of President Donald Trump. He touches on points including immigration and reiterates the focus of the entire event: encouraging Tennessee residents to vote for Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.

6:45 P.M.: 

The “Make America Great Again” rally began with appearances from Republicans such as Chuck Fleischmann, Scott Golden, and Jack Johnson.

6:30 P.M.:

Both Air Force One and Air Force Two have landed in Chattanooga, with the two aircrafts carrying VP Mike Pence, Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, and President Trump. All three politicians left Wilson Air Center at 6:38 p.m. en route to McKenzie Arena.

5:30 P.M.:

The campaign rally in McKenzie Arena begins with appearances from notable politicians, including Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and TN Senator Jack Johnson.

5:12 P.M.:

The Donald Trump campaign rally in Macon, GA. concludes. President Trump is expected to be in Chattanooga at 6:20 p.m.

4:00 P.M.:

Donald Trump’s first rally of the day in Macon, GA. begins. President Trump focuses his speech on criticizing Stacey Adams, the Democratic gubernatorial in Georgia, claiming if she is elected that she will “turn Georgia into Venezuela.” Trump also talked extensively about his disdain for the mainstream media, prompting a “CNN sucks” chant within the crowd. Other topics covered in the Macon rally include the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, Antifa, a comparison of his crowd sizes to former President Barack Obama’s, the immigrant caravan in Mexico, the wall on the southern border, and Medicare.


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