President Donald Trump came through Evansville, Indiana, like a roaring locomotive last week. Aug. 30, to be exact. If he had landed on the platform wearing a Superman outfit and cape I would not have been surprised. To the approximate 15,000 cheering fans, he might as well have been Superman, aka, Super President.
I didn't even know the president was coming to Indiana until the day before and figured I would not get inside the gate. I was reading on the Internet that I had to have a ticket and thus filled out the form to receive the electronic text I was supposed to receive. I filled it out a couple of times and even made a donation. I eventually realized that filling out the form was all about getting my information and a donation.
The doors to the seven o'clock speech were promised to open at 4 p.m. at the Ford Arena in downtown Evansville. My wife and I got there about 4:30 and found a parking space several blocks away and began the hike to the arena. The line at 4:30 was massive - literally thousands were lined up for what seemed to be a mile or more. We couldn't even find the end of the line it was so long. We knew at this point that even entering the arena was already impossible.
We found a hotel lobby and got out of the summer heat. Fortunately the local television was glued to the events and so we watched Trump get off Air Force One from our hotel lobby and began his high security limo ride to the Ford Center. A few minutes later we walked out of the hotel lobby and, lo and behold, motorcycled policemen were everywhere, escorting the black limo into a tent adjacent to the Ford center.
There was our president, but not in plain view as they pulled into the heavily guarded tent that would provide a passageway to the Old National Events Plaza and the Ford Center.
My wife and I enjoyed the dynamics of the parade, Secret Service people everywhere and the hoopla around our president's arrival, and figured this would be our evening. As we left the hotel we could see the end of the line in the distance and figured we would get in line and walk with the crowd back to our car. The line was moving and we stayed with it for an hour and luckily made it inside the arena. Behind us literally a couple of thousand more had gotten in line by the time we got to the arena door.
Once we were barely inside the arena there were zero seats to be found. The arena for a concert seats 11,000 people. We felt crammed in like sardines by the time we found a place to stand and it was obvious an extra thousand or so people above the seating limit were standing in the corners, aisles and everywhere else.
We found a standing place on the second level of the arena that was filled with Secret Service and state police. We were allowed to remain in our little standing place with our backs against a wall, but we had great platform visibility.
President Trump came onto the platform approximately at 7:15 to cheers and thunderous applause. I saw one woman escorted out for acting out of order and heard one negative person against Trump as we stood in line. I am told a couple of hundred protesters were out by the courthouse but I did not see or hear them.
Parts of Trump's speech have been replayed numerous times on various cable networks so there is no need to rehash his remarks.
Here is what I can say from what I saw in Evansville. The only way Trump will be defeated in 2020 will be for hell to freeze over. There is no person on the horizon that will swing the 12,000 people in the Ford arena last week to not vote for Trump. They are going to vote for him. This does not count the two or three thousand people who were standing outside the arena watching him on a screen.
While I was standing in line I did not hear one rude comment. I did not see any crazy behavior from the crowd. Inside the arena people were respectful, attentive but obviously resolved in their support and cheers for Donald Trump.
Yes, there are all kinds of bad things that have been said and will be said about Trump. I cannot determine what is and what is not true. I know that a few of my acquaintances, friends, old time buddies, and maybe even a family member or two hate his guts.
However, I also know what I saw in Evansville and that is a very sincere, determined group of people who will line up on Election Day and re-elect him as America's president in 2020 ... unless hell freezes over, and then anything might happen.
(Glenn Mollette's column is read in all 50 states. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.)