We are excited to be able to bring you an on-scene report from one of our long-time readers, the Kansan and Wildcat fan known to us all as NaCly Dog. On fall afternoons NaCly Dog is often to be found manning a concession booth at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, where he and a group of hardworking volunteers raise money for a competition that tests knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and related civics topics. But on October 6, President Trump was in Topeka for a midterm elections rally, so NaCly and a friend got tickets, and ended up getting some inside scoop for LU Nation.
We very much appreciate NaCly Dog’s kind permission to post this for all our readers. Enjoy! – LU Staff
Guest post by reader NaCly Dog
What I Saw at the Trump Rally in Topeka, Kansas
We saw little traffic until we got to the parking lot. We saw one protester, but we were three hours early. 20,000 people downloaded tickets for 10,000 seats in the Kansas Expo Center. We drove past all the other cars, with mostly Kansas and Missouri plates. There was a Cannabis II label on an old-style camper bus with marijuana leaf stickers, and libertarian and Leftist slogans, with a Colorado tag. Some Texas and Oklahoma plates were seen as well.
Once parked, it took my wingman and me over three hours to get in the Kansas Expo Center to see President Trump speak. The line snaked well over a mile. As we trudged around in a serpentine course, through the damp, misty afternoon, we were greeted with street vendors pulling wagons filled with red Trump MAGA hats, conservative T-shirts, and buttons, moving up and down the line. “Pull out your dead Presidents” came the cry from the vendors. They were all hustling locals who probably would do well with squeegees at an intersection. The coffee and donuts from one woman sold out fast, for quadruple the usual cost. I bought an overpriced button with Trump emulating Rosie the Riveter with the saying “Build that wall.”
I ran into 7 people I knew from my small town at the rally. The crowd was very energized. Everyone was in a fantastic mood. I shouted out to the crowd in line when Kavanagh was confirmed. There were cheers. I had a lot of fun chatting in line with good people from all over Kansas and Missouri.
I saw no protesters. A picture of 10 despondent-looking individuals, across the street from the parking lot, was prominent on the front page of our local newspaper the next day. The river of humanity trying to see President Trump was not mentioned.
The line was still out of sight when we got in as some of the last seated, in the nosebleed area. 11,000 present inside, and very few empty seats. Over a thousand were standing on the floor. An awful lot of the crowd were women. The women I saw seemed to glow with happiness. Nary a scowl was seen. More were outside watching Jumbo-trons in the mist.
Presidential security, with local police and TSA checking belongings, magnetic walk-through detectors, and Secret Service in oversight mode, was comprehensive. Checking belongings and funneling the crowd through four entry doors were responsible for the delay getting in.
We were on our feet for a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and then we all sang the National Anthem with a good black preacher/cantor leading us.
We had an excellent sightline to the open rostrum. To warm up the crowd, a Topeka native who normally works behinds the scenes for the campaign gave his first speech. He got shouts of recognition when he mentioned local places and schools. Then some campaign workers came out and threw MAGA hats and T-shirts into the boisterous crowd. This was quite similar to the start of local college football games.
Everyone was encouraged to text 88022 Trump to get a signed MAGA hat. The text also collected contact data, for use in databases.
When Trump came out, the crowd went wild. You can see his speech in the video below. Trump said little new, but he seems more at ease, and more polished also. I liked how he yielded time to two local politicians to speak, gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach and a congressman, with shout-outs to other local and state politicians and Sec State Pompeo (from Wichita, Kansas). They appeared a tad overwhelmed by the positive crowd.
Trump mentioned that he was advised to cancel the rally because of all that was happening in D.C. He got roars of approval when he mentioned he was not brave enough to cancel a rally in Kansas. He demonstrated a high energy level.
President Trump led the crowd, and got a lot of responses. He was blunt in speaking the truth as he, and most in the crowd, saw it. He said the Democrats will do bad things to America, and there is an absolute need for more Republicans. He disdained the MS-13 gang as animals. Normally, in my experience, speaking the truth is a Washington-style big gaffe. Not here. He did make a math mistake on the building cost of the Jerusalem embassy. But his rhetoric was focused and slyly humorous.
President Trump talked about a thank you call from the NFL commissioner. This was a surprise, as he was expecting a complaint given his stance on standing during the National Anthem at NFL games. The thank you was about an NFL item he spent 2 minutes on during the negotiations with Canada. Evidently, this item was a decades-long desire by the NFL with respect to Canada, but never accomplished by other Presidents.
And he sure had fun with Da Nang Dick [Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal – LU]. You could tell he was enjoying saying that. But he mentioned Connecticut is a sad place now, even losing GE.
President Trump observed that he has more Indian Blood in him than Pocahontas – and he had none.
He mentioned he has to go easier on the Dem potential candidates, because he would drive them all out, and he may get a good opponent. But then he said, “Who [sic] do they have? No one.” Senator Harris and former AG Holder were not mentioned, but Biden, Booker, and Pocahontas were.
The crowd seemed to energize him. In sharp contrast to the previous President, glass or other barriers did not protect him. But I expect that most of the crowd would take a bullet to save President Trump. He wrapped it up early to make you want more.
I had a great time. Even with the Mother of All Traffic Jams going home.