Researching the latest developments in the Ukraine scandal will just have to wait a day. President Donald J. Trump was in Dallas Thursday for his yuuuuge “Keep America Great” rally, and we had to go and see one of these for ourselves!
(Full speech here: https://youtu.be/MWtXrCBKvAg)
Hey, it’s always best to wait about 48 hours after each new report surfaces, anyway, since it's almost certain to be bogus. I live in a suburb of Dallas with hubby and fellow “Huckabee” writer/researcher Pat Reeder, and the Governor graciously put in a word for us so we could both get media credentials for the Dallas event.
American Airlines Center –- located adjacent to the appropriately-named Victory Plaza –- was packed all the way to the nosebleed seats Thursday evening, with an estimated 30,000 (!) more watching giant video screens outside. The weather was perfect. Some people had camped in line for two days to be among the first in the door. Although the President wasn’t scheduled to speak until 7 (and it turned out to be closer to 8 when he took the stage), we got there about 3:45. Media people had to check in before 5PM, with no exceptions, so we allowed ourselves plenty of time due to traffic and street closures.
Security was, of course, tight, but quite unobtrusive and extremely professional. (Towards the end of the event, I saw one security person walking the floor with a police dog and quite a number of Secret Service agents gathering near the media area, and it seemed as if something might be up, but that may have just been security personnel getting into place for Trump’s departure.) I’m not sure what getting through security was like for the thousands in line with regular tickets --- probably very slow --- but for us, it could not have gone more smoothly.
Inside the arena, we saw thousands of red Trump caps and T-shirts along with many creative variations on that theme. My favorites were probably the matching T-shirts worn by a couple of African-American men that read, “HELL YEAH, I’M BLACK AND I LIKE TRUMP.” One thing you seldom hear from the media was just how diverse the crowd was, with lots of women and different races represented. Many were waving signs saying “LATINOS FOR TRUMP” and “WOMEN FOR TRUMP.” One man’s shirt read, “CHOLO FOR TRUMP.” A young woman wore one defiantly emblazoned, “Yes, I voted for Trump, deal with it!” The atmosphere was unfailingly upbeat and positive, so unlike the gloomy world in which leftists dwell.
By 6:30, all media were supposed to be in the “corral” at the back of the floor. But it turned out that all the seats in the front rows of that area had been reserved for media big-shots, and, as Pat and I were relatively little shots, we would have been delegated to the area at the very back, behind the raised platform where TV reporters did their stand-ups, where we would have been completely separated from the stage by a black curtain. I got the distinct impression that almost all the media people in attendance WANTED to be separated from Trump by as thick a barrier as possible. Really, it’s hard to picture a glummer group of people ever assembled, if you don’t count prisoners about to be executed by firing squad. I mean, they were grim-faced. Not a speck of red clothing to be seen. Some had their faces buried in whatever was on their laptops, but a few looked out expressionlessly as if to assess the “God, guns, grits and gravy” crowd. Unlike them, Pat and I were jazzed to be there and wanted to see everything; fortunately, we got there early enough that we were able to get a couple of good seats in the first tier, amongst our fellow Walmart shoppers, very near the media area but with an actual view of the stage.
We’ve all seen many political rallies on TV (and this one is available from FOX News in its entirety, so I won’t detail the content of Trump’s message), but I have to tell you, in this case the intensity on TV screen does not come close to what we experienced inside the arena. Of course, in Texas, we like everything big, and we were not disappointed in that respect. Lots of high-decibel music; Pat and I might have tweaked the playlist a bit, but the eclectic mix of Michael Jackson, the Village People, Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones oddly worked. We did see a lot of “WPD” (white people dancing), which no doubt amused those black guys wearing the T-shirts I liked. I'm not complaining; it was sure better than that time at the Democratic National Convention when Hillary and her friends tried to dance the Macarena.
We struck up a conversation with the couple sitting in front of us over the T-shirt the man was wearing: the picture of a Halloween jack-o’-lantern with yellow “Trump” hair, with the message “TRUMPKIN: Make Halloween Great Again.” We loved this so much, we snapped a picture, with consent.
(Interestingly, when I saw the so-called “orange man” in person, I thought his pale skin and whitish hair looked perfectly normal under the stage lights and really quite attractive.) These two people turned out to be avid “Huckabee” fans, and they love the newsletter. They told us that Gov. Huckabee and Rep. Louis Gomert are just about the only sources they trust and enjoy. It made me wonder how many other people in that huge arena were fans, too.
What struck me most about the in-person Trump was his boundless energy and playful sense of humor, particularly considering the (pardon me) unending crapstorm he’s had to put up with ever since moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Think of it: judges have tried to block him at every turn from doing things within his constitutional authority, his own intelligence community tried to take him down, Congress throws some new phony charge at him every day as it searches for some impeachable offense, everything he says is twisted into something else, and he seems incredibly energized by it all. He’s having fun. He has quipped that he sort of thrives on it, and it appears that he genuinely does.
No doubt the cheering crowd helps him feel that way. So I think that by making our voices heard in that arena, loud and proud, we’re making it easier for him to deal with all the mess –- a mess his adversaries have themselves created and then blamed him for. When President Trump holds a rally in your state, by all means go. It’s uplifting to be part of a crowd like this. At a time when our freedom as Americans is under siege as perhaps never before, it’s gratifying to commune with others –- many, many others –- who see through it all and would crawl through broken glass to vote for Trump to “Keep America Great.” Thank God for them.
A few more observations on the Trump rally from Pat Reeder, “Huckabee” writer and resident pop culture historian:
While Laura and I had good seats, I had the lousy luck to pick one that put Trump’s face squarely behind the prompter, giving him the appearance of someone in the witness protection program with his face blacked out. Oddly enough, you could still tell who it was, just from the body language alone. Now, that's star quality.
While the TV coverage catches the cheering, it doesn’t convey the loudness or frequency of the laughter. I think one reason all the smug, lecturing late night “comics” hate Trump is that he’s much funnier than they are (Comedy is hard. Look at Tom Arnold.) Trump’s mix of sharp political points delivered with hilarious comic timing reminded me more of Jackie Mason on Broadway than a political rally (I think Trump absorbed a lot of his speaking style from Jackie.) And despite all the media whining about his attacks on them, his jabs at the “fake news media” that had the crowd booing the reporter pen on cue were no more “threatening” than the cartoonish booing-of-the-villain at a WWE event.
But the media didn’t seem to be in on the joke...
To show the left’s failure to grasp the game, outside afterwards, a tiny group of protesters held a sign saying, “Stop hatred, impeach Trump,” but we had seen no “hatred” inside. We saw a lot of people from all races and backgrounds, having a good time and actually being excited about voting. Also, I have no doubt that if anyone in the “hated” reporter corral had had a sudden medical emergency, half the crowd would have rushed to help while the rest prayed for the reporter to be okay.
Judging from all the swag stands outside and the hilariously creative T-shirts for sale (my favorite read “2020: Make Democrats Cry Again”), Trump is definitely making T-shirts great again. In fact, half of our economic growth may be due to sales of Trump T-shirts and caps.
The best of the caps had to be this one, which comes with a built-in Trump comb-over.
Finally, by coincidence, the Trump rally coincided with a rally for “Beto” O’Rourke that was much closer to where we live (man, tough call!) I heard it was not as well attended as Trump’s rally. But I have a suggestion for something “Beto” might want to rent to attract more people to his rallies.