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Trump Boosts Hawley in Parade of Missouri Republican Figures

Nathan Lawrence

President Donald J. Trump’s midterm campaign visit at the Columbia Regional Airport Thursday night was marked by the presence of numerous local and state-level GOP politicians, all appearing to boost Senate hopeful Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s campaign in its final days.

The rally centered on the president’s arrival in Air Force One and a subsequent hour-long speech. In addition to Trump’s dispatch, attendees heard remarks from Hawley and addresses from a host of Missouri Republican notables, including Boone County Commissioner Fred Parry and Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks.

Other speakers at the event included U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Gov. Mike Parson and two incumbent U.S. congressional candidates — Vicky Hartzler of Missouri’s fourth district and Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri’s ninth district.

Trump’s planned remarks began with an attack on incumbent Senator and Hawley opponent Claire McCaskill’s record.

“She’s been saying such nice things about me,” he said, “but you know what? She’ll never vote with me. She never has, and she didn’t even vote for justice Kavanaugh.”

Trump introduced Hawley about halfway through his speech. The Senate candidate’s statement only lasted for a total of about three and a half minutes. Trump, never having left the stage, resumed his own remarks immediately afterward.

Hawley accused McCaskill of failing to “get with the program” and focused on her concerns of foreign interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.

“She thinks that the reason President Trump got elected is because of the Russians,” Hawley said. “What she doesn’t realize is he’s president of the United States because of the Missourians.”

Though attendance was in the thousands, the event was opposed by several groups in the Columbia area. McCaskill plans to make a stop in Columbia Friday night.

Nathan Lawrence is an editor, documentary filmmaker and data journalist.