Trump’s Road Show: A musical moment of grace in Missouri
Six days, eight states, 11 rallies. Scenes from the road as President Donald Trump sprints to Election Day (all times local):
UPDATED— Six days, seven states, 11 rallies. Scenes from the road as President Donald Trump sprints to Election Day:
MONDAY: 9 p.m.
WHERE: Show Me Center, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 27 minutes.
THE FINALE: President Donald Trump’s rally in Missouri was his third of the day, 11th in his final-week blitz and the last one of his 2018 midterms campaign.
GUEST STARS: Trump was joined by conservative media stars, radio host Rush Limbaugh and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. Some White House staffers also came on stage, including Ivanka Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyane Conway.
QUOTEABLE: Dan Bente drove four miles to attend but was not able to get in. Undeterred, he watched on a screen outside and said he likes Trump’s no-holds-barred approach. “He leaves no gray area on anything, right or wrong. He’s not a politician and he doesn’t talk like one.”
MOMENT OF GRACE: The rally was delayed for several minutes when an attendee collapsed and was given medical attention. As medics worked, the crowd spontaneously began to sing “Amazing Grace.”
— By Jonathan Lemire
MONDAY, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 9 minutes.
MAGA PLAYLIST: The loud, boisterous crowd was treated to a pre-rally playlist at ear-splitting decibels, including a trio of songs that had the rallygoers — and some members of the press — dancing: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Tina Turner’s “The Best” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
BIG LINE: Trump, mocking the handful of protesters who penetrated the event, said: “We don’t want to resist. We want to get things done. We want the opposite.” He also told one demonstrator to “go home to Mommy.”
THE BIG SLEEP: The president was in Indiana backing Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who he said is “smart, tough, he sleeps like four hours a night or less.” Meanwhile, Trump has labeled Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly “Sleepin’ Joe.” ″Joe wakes up primarily when Schumer calls,” Trump joked, referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
WHAT WAS THAT AGAIN? Trump introduced a trio of his female staffers to speak: senior adviser Ivanka Trump, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and counselor Kellyanne Conway. Sanders’ opening line was a swipe at the media: “You’ll have to forgive Kellyanne and I, we’re maybe a little speechless — we’re not used to friendly crowds.”
— By Jonathan Lemire
MONDAY, 3 p.m.
WHERE: International Exposition Center, Cleveland.
RUNNING TIME: 59 minutes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: A giant “Q″ representing QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy metatheory born on the internet that few really quite understand.
BIG LINE: “Whoever even heard of ‘midterm’? They don’t even know what it is. I’ve had a lot of people say: ‘I don’t know what “midterm” is, but now I’m watching every single minute. And I’m going out to vote.’ But the key is you have to go out to vote. Because in a sense I am on the ticket.”
MORE EXPLANATION PLEASE: Trump recalled his early-career days as a developer in Cincinnati, then mused about its less strict neighboring state, saying, “I liked Kentucky for all the wrong reasons, but I liked Kentucky.”
WHAT WAS THAT AGAIN? “You’re not allowed to use the word ‘beautiful’ anymore when you talk about women. No, no, you’re not allowed. It’s politically incorrect. I will never call a woman beautiful.” — Trump, introducing his daughter Ivanka.
— By Jonathan Lemire
SUNDAY, 7 p.m.
Where: McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 10 minutes.
BIG LINE: “You don’t hear so much about that big ‘blue wave’ anymore.” — Trump.
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee’s GOP candidate for Senate, picked up on a frequent Trump theme when she mentioned that the election would be a fresh chance to reject the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. “If you want to vote ‘no’ on Hillary Clinton and her cronies one more time, then stand with me,” she said. This came during a rally where Trump urged his supporters to move forward by supporting Republicans and not go back by supporting Democrats. “Democrats want to turn back the clock,” Trump said. “They are stuck in the past.”
GUEST APPEARANCE: Trump expressed surprise at the presence of country singer Lee Greenwood, even though the appearance had been publicly announced before the rally. Greenwood’s hit “God Bless the USA” has been a standard at Trump’s events ever since he announced his campaign for president. A Trump campaign statement earlier in the day noted that the president “will be pleased” to have Greenwood perform in person. Trump told supporters: “I didn’t know Lee Greenwood would be here. That was a surprise.”
LONG-DISTANCE SHOUTOUT: During the Tennessee rally, Trump gave a plug for one of the GOP’s endangered Senate candidates — Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, who is locked in a close contest with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema running for an open seat. As Trump was mentioning various parts of the country, he paused when he mentioned “the red rocks of Arizona,” saying: “Martha McSally. She’s great. She’s great!”
— By Zeke Miller
SUNDAY, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Macon, Georgia
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour and 8 minutes
SIGN OF THE TIMES: “Get out and VOTE”
BIG LINE: “There’s electricity in the air like I haven’t seen since ’16” — President Donald Trump’s assessment of Republican enthusiasm two days out from the midterm elections.
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: The crowd at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport hangar was pumped, cheering loudly and breaking into a “Six more years!” chant. Trump implored his supporters to vote, telling them: “This is a very important election. I wouldn’t say it’s as important as ’16, but it’s right up there,” he joked. Trump also raised eyebrows with a call to reject the Democratic policies and their “politics of anger and division.” Trump has been stoking fear in the last weeks of the race, warning of a near apocalypse if Democrats take power.
— By Zeke Miller and Jill Colvin
SATURDAY, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola, Florida
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Lots of pink “Women for Trump” signs in the crowd.
BIG LINE: “A vote for any Democrat this November is a vote to really put extreme far-left politicians in charge of Congress and to destroy your jobs, slash your incomes, undermine your safety and put illegal aliens before American citizens. Not good.” — President Donald Trump on the stakes of the midterm elections.
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: In just about every campaign speech, Trump reminds audiences that he kept his campaign promise to replace the “horrible, horrible” North American Free Trade Agreement, which he said had contributed to the loss of thousands of jobs in the U.S. Trump has replaced NAFTA with a new trilateral agreement, one he calls the US-Mexico-Canada agreement, or U-S-M-C-A, for short.
Even he acknowledges the acronym is a mouthful, but he told the Florida audience to just think of the one-time hit song “YMCA” by the Village People. “USMCA right? Like YMCA,” Trump said, as he proceeded to sing a little bit of “YMCA” before he moved on to his next talking point.
NEEDLING THE MEDIA: Trump said during his rally, “Could the cameras please pan out and show this crowd ... would really be nice ... you know they never like to do that, folks.”
— By Darlene Superville
SATURDAY, 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Belgrade, Montana.
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 10 minutes
BIG LINE: “The choice in this election could not be more simple. A Republican Congress means more jobs and less crime. A Democratic Congress means more crime and less jobs.” —Trump
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Before Trump began speaking, a white-bearded man with a cane held up a white cloth with “Trump Lies” written on it only to have a person standing next to him knock it to the ground. The protester held up his sign twice more before a man in a suit and an earpiece snatched it from him, balled it up and walked away.
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: Speaking about border security, Trump said: “Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”
TODDLER TRUMP: Jackie Poulsen of Billings dressed her 15-month-old daughter, Finley, as Trump for the rally, drawing a crowd of people with cellphones taking photos of the toddler with the tie and slicked-back hair.
SPEAKING TRUTH: Joyce Murray, 70, of Ronan, Montana, says she wants to curb immigration. “I worked the oil fields. The Hispanics are great workers. I understand that. But the immigration, we have to stop somewhere.”
She said she supports Trump because “he speaks the truth.”
—By Darlene Superville and Matt Volz
FRIDAY, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Southport High School, Indianapolis.
RUNNING TIME: 57 minutes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: “Jobs vs. Mobs.”
BIG LINE: “I need you to vote for a Republican House and a Republican Senate so we can continue this incredible movement, the greatest political movement in the history of our country. It is.” — Trump on what’s at stake Tuesday.
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: There didn’t appear to be an empty seat in the gymnasium at Southport High, where the crowd appeared thrilled that Trump had returned to Indiana with Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight, a state legend, and Vice President Mike Pence, who was formerly the state’s governor. Trump recalled in great detail how Knight had reached out to him before he launched his campaign to encourage a run and how he’d magically found Knight’s number buried in a stack of papers on his desk months later. “That was from God,” Trump said. Knight led the crowd in a “Go get ’em, Donald” chant, adding that Trump has been “a great defender of the United States of America.”
— By Darlene Superville and Jill Colvin
FRIDAY, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Huntington Tri-State Airport, Huntington, West Virginia.
RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: “Trump Digs Coal.”
CRY BABY CRY: Trump suggested talk of Democrats pulling off a “blue wave” on Tuesday may peter out. “It’s going to be an interesting day at the office. You remember an election two years ago? There were a lot of really happy people that night but there were some that were slightly not too happy — cry, baby, cry.”
PLAYING TO THE CROWD: Trump was at times jovial, joking at one point that it’s not easy being married to him, and later saying that Vietnam’s leaders told him West Virginia has the best coal. He confessed to be out of his element on that point: “Somebody like me, coming from 5th Avenue, what the hell do I know about that?”
— By Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller
THURSDAY, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Columbia Regional Airport, Columbia, Missouri.
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 17 minutes.
VIBE: Bundled up in warm jackets and winter hats, the crowd spilled out of an airline hangar into the crisp, dark night. Trump basked in the cheers from a stage positioned in front of the open doorway, surrounded by American flags and with Air Force One parked just behind him.
LOCAL SIGN OF THE TIMES: Trump noted a “Tigers for Trump” sign, a reference to the University of Missouri mascot. Said Trump, “I like that.”
BIG LINE: “The Republican agenda is the mainstream agenda of the American people — it’s how we all got here.” — Trump.
VERBATIM: “We are human beings that do exist, and no matter what he says we are still here and we’re still going to fight against people who try to take away our rights.” — Oakley Peterson, 21, a film student at Stephens College in Columbia, holding a sign with the transgender flag and protesting the Trump administration’s proposal to narrowly define gender.
CANDIDATE CORNER: “Claire McCaskill wanted us to call Hillary Clinton Madam President. On Nov. 6, we’re going to call Claire McCaskill fired.” — Republican Josh Hawley, seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. McCaskill.
OF NOTE: As proof of the tight race, Trump isn’t done with Missouri just yet. As he said, “I’m actually coming back on Monday.”
— By Catherine Lucey and Summer Ballentine.
WEDNESDAY, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Hertz Arena, Estero, Florida.
RUNNING TIME: 54 minutes.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: An Elvis impersonator! After all, it was Halloween. At least one supporter dressed as Trump.
BIG LINE: “The far left media used tragedy to sow anger and division.” — Trump, complaining about “fake” reporting on demonstrations during his visit to the Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 people were killed. (Trump’s visit Tuesday did attract large numbers of protesters.)
VERBATIM: “I’m gay. None of my friends are for this. So I’m here alone. I voted for Obama twice. I think he was a big lie. In the midterms, I’m going to vote the way Trump sees it.” — Allison Chiddo, 56, co-owner of a drug and alcohol rehab center in West Palm Beach.
OF NOTE: Most rally-goers shot up their hands when asked if they’d already voted. Trump’s response: “Then what the hell am I doing here tonight?”
— By Jill Colvin and Tamara Lush
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics