By Logan Garrett, Editor-In-Chief—
Thousands of Donald Trump supporters gathered in McKenzie Arena for President Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ rally, which featured notable politicians including Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, Vice President Mike Pence, and the president himself.
Prior to the rally, streets around UTC’s campus were brimming with Trump supporters awaiting entry to the arena, a student-led peaceful protest, and numerous pop-up kiosks selling Trump memorabilia.
The event drew fans of the president from all over the region and Chattanooga locals alike.
“We wanted to come out and support President Trump and the Republican Party,” Maria Mitchell, Dalton, GA., said.
“I’m a gay Trump supporter, and I’ve been surprised at how receptive this entire crowd has been to that,” Chattanooga resident Michael Bayne said. “I came today to show a different perspective.”
Alongside the countless Trump advocates were a few proud opponents of the president and his administration.
“I came because I think it’s important, especially now, that everyone understands the facts about this administration,” Dalton, GA. native Chloe Swaney said, “instead of blindly trusting the president’s Twitter.”
The MAGA rally began with speeches from Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson, Tenn. GOP Chair Scott Golden, and U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, who established the entire rally’s purpose of encouraging Tennesseeans to vote for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.
The presidential playlist which included ‘Freebird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘YMCA’ by the Village People, and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses continued for another hour before Vice President Mike Pence took the podium.
Pence hyped up the crowd and reiterated the message of the previous speakers on the purpose of the event.
“We are here for one reason and one reason only, to support Marsha Blackburn,” Pence said.
The stage was then set for President Trump to enter the arena, and he was met by an uproar of applause.
After complimenting the size of the crowd in McKenzie, Trump continued to speak on a myriad of issues, such as the economic success of his administration, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, and the progress on the wall on the southern border.
Similar to his previous rallies, Trump focused on the successes of his administration, stating that his administration has been more successful in its first two years than any administration ever.
“Everyday it’s promises made, promises kept,” President Trump said, “and there’s no president, no administration that’s done as much as us in two years.”
He supported this claim by citing statistics about the last two years, such as 4.5 million Americans returning to the workforce, 4.3 million individuals coming off food stamps, and the creation of 1,000 manufacturing jobs a day.
President Trump also repeated an array of other talking points from previous rallies, including the success of the USMCA trade agreement and $1.6 billion in funding secured for the wall.
Along with these topics, Trump harkened back to other misleading statements he has used in other speeches. For example, Trump claimed previous administrations had tried to pass the Veterans Choice bill for “44 years” before his administration put it into effect. The Veterans Choice bill was passed by the Obama Administration on Aug. 7, 2014.
Similarly, Trump stated drug prices have continuously decreased since he took office, which is in stark contrast to the findings of an AP study which found 96 price hikes for every reduction in the first seven months of 2018.
President Trump returned back to the focal point of the rally: urging Tennessee residents to vote for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and other GOP candidates.
This prompted Marsha Blackburn’s first appearance at the podium, who reiterated the same facts and claims as the previous speakers. She then turned her attention to her opponent in the Senate race, Democrat Phil Bredesen, who President Trump dubbed a “far-left liberal” and staunch Hillary Clinton supporter.
Blackburn added that if Bredeson had his way, Hillary Clinton would be president and “not any of these things would be happening,” which catalyzed a “lock her up” chant within the arena.
The hour and 13 minute long rally concluded with Donald Trump leading the massive crowd in a “Make America Great Again” chant.
“We’re going to make America wealthy again, we’re going to make America strong again, we’re going to make America safe again, and we are going to make America great again,” President Trump exclaimed.