Supporters of President Donald Trump walked for a half mile on rainy country roads, wearing red baseball hats and American flag T-shirts – but on their way to the President’s rally, they passed a group sporting another flag.
Amid flags, chants and rainbow colors, LGBTQ+ advocates gathered, calling for equality.
Anne Mceowen held a sign reading “I love my daughter.” She says her daughter told her at age 28 that she was transgender – and she says she wishes she’d known sooner.
“I want politicians to know my reason for being here is that I love my daughter – that’s not going to be stopped. My love is not going to be stopped.”
Campaign officials said the hangar at Columbia Regional Airport was at capacity, so many rally-goers watched the rally on a screen just outside the event. They cheered upon the arrival of Air Force One.
As Trump took to the stage, Jennifer Grimes, her husband and her kids took in the moment.
“It means a lot. It’s pretty special,” she said. “Because you know what? You think you don’t matter when you live in kind of a small area? But you know him coming here tells me that maybe we matter to him, and he matters to us and we’re grateful for everything he’s done already.”
Some counter-demonstrators held signs and protested quietly, but firmly, within the Trump rally's outdoor overflow. Danielle Fox, an MU student, stood with some of her friends. She said she chose to come to the rally rather than alternative protests downtown because she wanted to be heard by the President.
“I’m tired of the inequality,” she said. “I’m tired of the lack of representation...I’m just tired of being erased from a history that I’m part of.”
The event was Trump’s second rally in an 11-stop, eight-state tour ahead of Tuesday's crucial midterm elections.