Supporters, Opponents Gather for Presidential Visit

Oct 27, 2018

People wait outside Hangar 6 at Southern Illinois Airport ahead of President Donald Trump's visit
Credit Jacob Gordon

Thousands of people converged on the Southern Illinois Airport Saturday to see and hear from President Donald Trump, and some were hoping he'd hear them, too.

Trump traveled to southern Illinois to stump for Republican Congressman Mike Bost, who is in a tough reelection battle. Alisha Eggers of Marion supports the President, and says his policies are helping.

“I think he’s making a lot of positive changes. I support him when it comes to cracking down on immigration laws, and everything he is doing and the changes he’s trying to make.”

Dave Burggren traveled from just outside Chicago for the rally. He says Mr. Trump is doing what he said he would do.

"He’s come into office with an agenda and stayed true to it. He’s accomplished a lot in terms of the economy. He’s supported law enforcement, supported first responders, supported the military. He has lowered taxes.”

Supporter Stasia Shoemaker of Vienna says she doesn't always agree with everything President Trump says - but she says that's not the point of her trip.

“I don’t feel that I have to agree with every single thing any of our presidents do, for me to stand in a position to honor the office, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Credit Jacob Gordon

Opponents and protesters were also on the grounds of the airport, hoping their message could be heard. A group of students from Southern Illinois University shared experiences and stories with others in line.

“We might not be able to change anyone’s political views, but we can definitely show that we are peacefully protesting out here. And although we do have completely different political viewpoints, both sides deserve to be heard.”

Some protesters travelled from out of state to make their voices heard. Tommy Wolikow of Youngstown, Ohio is a UAW worker who’s worried his plant will close.

“We just want to be able to work. We would love to be able to have our good union job back, but the way it’s looking, President Trump is our last hope.”

Susan Cropper of Gas City, Indiana was a Trump voter, but has since changed her mind.

“We need to start holding our elected officials accountable for what they’re saying when they’re trying to get voted in. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, the promises made need to be fulfilled to the American people.”

Thousands gathered inside and outside the hangar where President Trump spoke, saying Rep. Bost should be reelected.