Trump's Columbia Appearance Draws Attention From Critics and Fans
As nationally important midterm elections draw near, attention has once again been thrust upon the State of Missouri as President Donald Trump visited mid-Missouri to promote the state's Republican ticket, including Senate hopeful and current Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.
Trump's rally, held Thursday night in a hangar at the Columbia Regional Airport, gathered an audience in the thousands.
During his speech, which lasted a little more than an hour, Trump touched on a wide range of issues, from the economy to border security, but he honed in on the topic of birthright citizenship, which he called a "lunatic policy."
In addition to Hawley, Trump's rally featured nearly a dozen other high-profile Missouri politicians, including 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.
While thousands may have gathered for Trump's airport speech, others remained unimpressed.
"People don't want what he's selling," Bob Swope, a demonstrator at the opposing downtown Columbia 'Rally for Sanity' said, "but it energizes a certain percentage, and there's a certain percentage that aren't involved. These two forces are going to meet in the ballot box, and that's what counts more than anything."
Closer to the airport, LGBTQ+ advocates gathered just off the exit of Highway 63, about a mile away from the entrance to the airport. Part of a wave of LGBTQ+ protests under the moniker "#WontBeErased," the demonstrators were responding to the Trump administration's signals against the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights and potential moves to eliminate federal recognition for transgender identities.