A packed house of supporters filled the Huntington Center in Toledo on Wednesday evening.
(Photos by Forrest R. Church, Staff)
By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
TOLEDO (HUNTINGTON CENTER) – Donald Trump with his son Eric, traveled to Toledo on Wednesday evening in an effort to stir up support in the Buckeye State. Huntington Center seating was at near capacity with another large crowd filling the standing room only areas of the floor. Some supporters waited since early a.m. hours to obtain a seat. An estimation of around 9,000 supporters were inside the Huntington Center.
Supporters waited in high 80’s degree heat and heavy humidity with lines stretching blocks. Several thousands of supporters were turned away from entering the rally once the Huntington Center was full.
National media filled the streets and main floor to report on the controversial GOP candidate speech, one of the largest media gatherings to visit Toledo in recent history. Secret service also heavily guarded downtown while police set up lines to separate protestors from supporters in nearby intersections. An estimated 25-50 vocal protestors were outside the arena after the conclusion of the rally, holding signs such as “Black lives matter”, etc. behind police lines, many shouting chants from bull horns with Trump supporters yelling back. Overall compared to other national protests, the Northwest Ohio rally proved to be mostly non violent.
Mr. Trump has hit the campaign trail hard to gain as much post-convention bounce as possible while Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is nominated this week in Philadelphia. His decision to campaign while the Democratic National Convention was taking place in Philadelphia breaks tradition. Political history often finds the opposite party having little activity during the competing party’s convention dates. Trump’s Toledo visit took place during the same time frame that President Obama was speaking at the DNC, pleading his support to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump’s campaign schedule remains extremely busy throughout the week with appearances around the country.
The speech was delayed about half an hour as Mr. Trump landed at the Toledo Express airport at 7:30 p.m. with the speech starting about an hour later. Trump arrived via a caravan from the Ohio turnpike and down 75 to the Huntington Center with police agencies temporarily blocking traffic along the route. Mr. Trump arrived at the Toledo Express airport via his $100 million dollar “Trump Force One” jet, after starting his day with a press conference in Florida followed by an afternoon rally in Pennsylvania before arriving at the evening Toledo stop.
The crowd proved to be wildly patriotic while respectful during prayer portions of the rally. Supporters inside the arena waiting for the GOP candidate to arrive briefly chanted “lock her up” and “build the wall.”
Mike Bell, former Toledo mayor and fire chief, led Mr. Trump’s rally in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bell stated he is often advised to stay in the background because he is an African-American Republican. “It is good to be here,” Mr. Bell said. “I’m here because the bottom line is we are all Americans. Black lives matter, blue lives matter and we together will change this country in November.”
Mr. Trump brought his son Eric Trump to the stage briefly during the rally.
A few topics addressed by Mr. Trump included:
- Warnings against a Hillary Clinton Presidency.
- Controversial international trade deals.
- Reviewed Ohio’s economic issues under Democratic rule, stating Ohio has lost one in three manufacturing jobs since Bill Clinton signed NAFTA.
- Stating since 2000, the number of people on food stamps in Ohio has nearly tripled.
- Promised protection and being more aggressive in defeating ISIS.
- Building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
- Criticizing NATO, stating the cost to protect nations such as Japan.
Forrest R. Church may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org