Trump On Kemp: If You Love Me, You Will Love Him

Nov 5, 2018

President Donald Trump traveled to Georgia two days before the deadlocked in the polls race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams to be the state's next governor. 

The president chose an airport hangar in Macon left empty when Canadian company Bombardier closed up shop as the place to stump for Kemp. 

Thousands of people attended the rally. A far smaller number of them actually slept out by the hangar overnight to get a good seat. Among them was Lynn White. Like most at the rally, she said the event would have no bearing on how she was going to vote. 

"I’m not a swing voter," White said.  "I know where my loyalties lie as far as what I want to see happen; I know where I stand on the issues and that’s a straight red."

A paper cutout Trump was a big attraction in the line outside the airport hangar in Macon where Trump later spoke.
Credit Grant Blankenship / GPB

The crowd was almost entirely white. Among the handful of African-Americans in attendance were Quanicia Luckey and her family, including her son with special needs. Luckey said despite the racist rhetoric hurled by the president and some of his supporters, concerns about illegal immigration are enough for her to continue to support Republicans and Kemp.  She said she fears illegal immigration hurts minority communities most. 

"Everyone is competing for resources. So I think that the wall is a great idea," she said. 

Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, Sen. David Perdue and President Donald Trump leave Air Force One at Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon Sunday.
Credit Grant Blankenship / GPB

When Kemp took the stage hours later, he wasted no time reassuring people like Luckey. 

"I have a question for you," Kemp told the about 6,000 people in or near the hangar. "Who's ready to build that wall?"

That was the warmup. A little less than an hour later came the headliner. Trump's plane, the smaller of the jetliners he travels on, landed on the tarmac to the strains of opera music that at times seemed almost timed to the turns of the aircraft, including a crescendo that came with a break of the sun through the clouds. The crowd loved it. 

President Trump takes the stage for Brian Kemp in Macon.

When he took the stage, Trump was quick to praise Kemp. 

"In a few days, people of Georgia are going to elect Brian Kemp," Trump said. "To protect your jobs, defend your borders, defend your values and to continue to make American great again."

Trump then spent the bulk of the hour plus speech talking about himself, occasionally dipping out of the stream of conciousness to lob allegations at gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, to let former UGA football coach Vince Dooley speak on Kemp's behalf, and to give Kemp a little more time at the podium. Rally attendees were leaving before the president was wrapped up.