Trump touts accomplishments, endorses Barr at Richmond rally

Thousands line up outside EKU Alumni Coliseum on Saturday afternoon waiting for President Trump to arrive to rally support for Congressional candidate Andy Barr.

In an effort to garner Republican support in one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country, President Donald Trump held a rally at Eastern Kentucky University to crowds inside and out.

The president’s visit to the Bluegrass State was to endorse incumbent Republican candidate Andy Barr, who is facing a tight campaign in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. Barr is facing off against Democrat Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot and first-time politician.

“You can vote for Democrat mob-rule, or you can vote for a Republican Party that stands for law and order, fairness, freedom and justice,” Trump said.

President Trump also touted his achievements over the past few months, from the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, to the freeing of Pastor Andrew Brunson from captivity in Turkey.

Trump also praised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “staring down an angry left-wing mob.” Trump described McConnell’s work in the confirmation processes of Brett Kavanaugh.

“[He] never blinked, never looked back and got us a man who will be one of our great, great Supreme Court justices,” Trump said.

Trump touched on numerous recurring subjects in his speech, including illegal immigration, healthcare reform and trade with China.

The rally, which began at about 7:15  p.m., was preceded by a speech from Senator Rand Paul, who praised Trump’s support of healthcare reform.

“I went to him with an idea on health care,” Paul said. “You know what the President said? ‘Make it so,’ and he did it.”

{{tncms-inline account=”Emma Austin” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I’m outside EKU Alumni Coliseum where thousands are lined up to get into the Trump rally. Doors open at 4p.m., rally starts at 7 p.m. <a href="https://twitter.com/wkuherald?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wkuherald</a> <a href="https://t.co/qNwnYmHWda">pic.twitter.com/qNwnYmHWda</a></p>— Emma Austin (@emmacaustin) <a href="https://twitter.com/emmacaustin/status/1051189122868699138?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/emmacaustin/status/1051189122868699138″ type=”twitter”}}

Thousands of supporters lined up outside the coliseum in the hours leading up to the rally, including mother and daughter Paulette Vee and 10-year-old Holly Griffin, who were in line since 4 a.m. for their 18th Trump rally. Vee said it’s the energy at the rallies that keeps them coming back for more.

“And it’s the fact that a lot of the things he campaigned on, he’s already doing,” Vee said.

{{tncms-inline account=”Emma Austin” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Paulette Vee and her 10-year-old daughter Holly Griffin drove up from Georgia yesterday and were the first in line for what will be their 18th Trump rally. Holly’s hat is signed by <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realDonaldTrump</a> <a href="https://t.co/EAfAwkBH78">pic.twitter.com/EAfAwkBH78</a></p>— Emma Austin (@emmacaustin) <a href="https://twitter.com/emmacaustin/status/1051192489997144065?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/emmacaustin/status/1051192489997144065″ type=”twitter”}}

Fourteen percent of promises made by Trump during the campaign have been kept, while 7 percent of promises were compromised, 8 percent were broken, 32 percent were stalled and 39 percent of promises are in the works, according to Politifact’s Trump-O-Meter, which tracks Trump’s campaign promises.

A few hundred people began lining up across the street in the early afternoon to protest Trump and Barr and to campaign for McGrath.

Bowling Green activist Claudia Hanes drove to Richmond Saturday morning to take part in the protest, carrying her American flag with stars in the shape of a peace sign. She said she saw the event on Facebook and couldn’t pass up the chance to participate.

“Most people feel our president should be a unifier, and this man is anything but,” Hanes said. “This country has never been so polarized, and he’s one of the reasons.”

Madison County local Martha Beagle took part in the protest after listening to former Vice President Joe Biden campaign for McGrath on Friday.

“She’s the one that’s in this race that it doesn’t matter to her what you vote, as far as Republican or Democrat,” Beagle said about McGrath, on whose campaign she volunteers. “She wants what’s right for everybody. Country over party.”

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Herald 🎃” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The protest crowd across the street is still growing. It was organized by <a href="https://twitter.com/bgaAlliance?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bgaAlliance</a>, which was founded after the 2016 election <a href="https://t.co/nvE1BmE5uL">pic.twitter.com/nvE1BmE5uL</a></p>— WKU Herald 🎃 (@wkuherald) <a href="https://twitter.com/wkuherald/status/1051214431261220870?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 13, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/wkuherald/status/1051214431261220870″ type=”twitter”}}

The race for Kentucky’s 6th district is considered to be crucial for the Democrats’ effort to regain control of Congress. The latest RealClearPolitics average places the race as “Toss Up.”

According to RealClearPolitics, President Trump won the district by just over 15 percent in the 2016 Presidential race. Two years later, Barr holds just a one point lead over McGrath, according to a New York Times/Siena poll.

{{tncms-inline account=”Michael Benson” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A message to all <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EKU?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EKU</a> students:<a href="https://t.co/1QuF2r6D9C">https://t.co/1QuF2r6D9C</a><a href="https://twitter.com/eku?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@eku</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/EKUalums?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EKUalums</a></p>— Michael Benson (@EKUPrez) <a href="https://twitter.com/EKUPrez/status/1050432551242932225?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/EKUPrez/status/1050432551242932225″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Samuel Goins” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I’m disgusted with the rhetoric of the 120 EKU professors (including one of my own) that wrote a letter to president Benson opposing Trump’s rally at Alumni Coliseum. They claim they are for free speech yet say that the <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@POTUS</a> doesn’t have the right to hold his rally on campus?🤔</p>— Samuel Goins (@sfgoins15) <a href="https://twitter.com/sfgoins15/status/1050551090838687749?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 12, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/sfgoins15/status/1050551090838687749″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Brent Wainscott” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EKU students protesting today at the unity walk ahead of Donald Trump’s rally this weekend <a href="https://t.co/CbDSLxzS3X">pic.twitter.com/CbDSLxzS3X</a></p>— Brent Wainscott (@BrentW_KSR) <a href="https://twitter.com/BrentW_KSR/status/1050457300253769728?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 11, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/BrentW_KSR/status/1050457300253769728″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Emily Johnson” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EKU is really out here scrubbing the sidewalks & trimming trees bc Trump is coming. I just wanna know where these hundreds of maintenance men were when the heat was out in my room for WEEKS last winter 🙃🤷🏻‍♀️</p>— Emily Johnson (@emilyann_j97) <a href="https://twitter.com/emilyann_j97/status/1050820919726395392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 12, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/emilyann_j97/status/1050820919726395392″ type=”twitter”}}

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected]

Emma Austin can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emmacaustin.