© Reuters. Trump holds campaign rally in New Jersey
By Gabriella Borter and Alexandra Alper
WILDWOOD, NJ (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump’s New Jersey supporters welcomed their first-ever state campaign rally in the same way they celebrate the heroes of the New Jersey soccer team on Tuesday. York Jets and their native son Bruce Springsteen, having a back door party.
Braving the cold weather on lawn chairs and under tents, they waved “Trump 2020” flags, decorated their dogs with pro-Trump bandanas and sported versions of his red campaign hat decorated with hair that evoked the Republican’s signature hairstyle. .
“It’s very familiar,” said John Fenlon, a 26-year-old parks and recreation clerk from Monmouth County, who said he arrived at 5:30 a.m., about 13 1/2 hours before Trump’s expected arrival.
The coastal town of Wildwood on the Jersey Shore, normally nearly empty in January, was packed with restaurants and hotels despite the chilly temperature.
Fenlon said the scene “more or less” felt like a back door party with two important caveats: “There aren’t that many drunk people … And there aren’t two teams. There’s only one team.”
Trump’s campaign rallies during the first three years of his administration have largely played out in states he won in 2016. While he has been a regular visitor to New Jersey, losing by a 14-point margin, to stay in your golf club. Tuesday night’s rally was the first in the state.
Supporters lined the streets of Wildwood to greet the president’s caravan as it approached the Wildwoods Convention Center, wrapped in blankets and chanting “USA.”
Some started lining up on Sunday. Many of those who couldn’t get into the convention center, which has a capacity of about 7,000, watched on giant screens outside.
Trump was coming in part to reward U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who left the Democratic Party last month in protest of Trump’s impeachment. Van Drew’s election as a Democrat in November 2018 marked a brief change in New Jersey’s conservative southern district that had elected Republicans to Congress for the previous quarter-century.
“Jeff had the guts to challenge the left wing fanatics in his own party and to stand tall in defense of our Constitution, our freedom and democracy,” Trump said before taking Van Drew on stage.
The welcome was not uniform in a state where Springsteen, the beloved New Jersey rock star, described Trump in a 2019 television interview as “someone who I feel does not understand the deep meaning of what it means to be an American.”
Cape May County progressive activist group (NYSE 🙂 Indivisible held a “Trump: You are not welcome here” rally at the venue, but their presence was small.
Kevin Camp, a 27-year-old heavy machinery operator, said he was happy to see Trump visit his hometown, having “seen all of Trump’s rallies on television.”
“This is the first I’ve been to,” said Camp, who had spent two days waiting for the rally with his girlfriend, Heather Karrer, 25. “We live 10 minutes away and we never thought it would be this close.” . “
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