Six questions about the Trump rally

October 5, 2018

Why did the President Trump campaign choose Rochester to hold a rally?

Many area GOP activists believe that the president chose Rochester in order to support Jim Hagedorn, who is running for Congress in the 1st District. Republicans control both the House and Senate. Many believe that if Democrats take the House, as pundits have predicted, they will seek to impeach him.

Hence, supporting GOP House candidates — and keeping the House in GOP hands — makes sense. If Hagedorn wins, it would flip a seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz of Mankato.

Trump is also expected to lend support to Jeff Johnson, who is running against Walz, and Karin Housley, who is running against Tina Smith.

But why Rochester instead of, say, Mankato?

Because Rochester has the Mayo Civic Center and thus a better facility in which to hold a rally.

What can we expect at a Trump rally?

The unexpected. The president is not a town-hall kind of guy. Trump, often feeding off the crowd’s enthusiasm, has tended to make his most provocative statements at these rallies. He was at a rally when he urged NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem, saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now!”

At a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Trump stirred up another firestorm when he mocked Christine Blasey Ford by casting doubt on her testimony before the Senate Judiciary. Ford testified last week that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Trump said.

Who will be there to greet President Trump at Rochester International Airport?

The president is expected to arrive in Rochester around 5:30 p.m. GOP state Sens. Dave Senjem of Rochester and Jeremy Miller of Winona will be there to greet the president when he gets off the plane.

“He’s coming to our city,” Senjem said. “That’s a special occasion for any city, irrespective of what anybody thinks about the president. We certainly want to welcome him to the our city and show courtesy and cordiality.”

Will the rally be televised?

Yes. Both KTTC-TV and KAAL-TV plan to show the rally in its entirety. “We’ll carry the whole thing. We’re blowing out our programming,” said KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom.

Will it be a sellout?

Area GOP leaders say the rally will draw supporters from Iowa and Wisconsin and from across the 1st Congressional District. One veteran of Trump rallies said the events are sold-out affairs.

More tickets have been given out than seats at the 5,200-seat Mayo Civic Center, thereby guaranteeing competition for seats. Some Trump opponents have sought the free tickets to produce empty seats at the rally, but it seems doubtful that the Trump campaign hasn’t anticipated the ruse.

Senjem said he has gotten about 50 requests for tickets, some of them coming from liberals and critics of Trump.

“They’re critical of Donald Trump, but when he comes to your town, they all want to see him,” Senjem said. “And I’m talking about generally kind of liberal people. They want to get in to see him.”

Update hourly