State Politics

Hundreds rally to show support for Trump in Raleigh

March 4 Trump rally in Raleigh

VIDEO: Hundreds attend a rally for President Donald Trump on Halifax Mall in Raleigh, NC Saturday, March 4, 2017. The rally for President Trump, sponsored by a group called NC Deplorables, was one of a string of March 4 Trump events held around t
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VIDEO: Hundreds attend a rally for President Donald Trump on Halifax Mall in Raleigh, NC Saturday, March 4, 2017. The rally for President Trump, sponsored by a group called NC Deplorables, was one of a string of March 4 Trump events held around t

A rally supporting President Donald Trump drew hundreds of people Saturday afternoon to the state government mall to show that they like how the nation’s leader is handling his job.

Many in the crowd dressed in red. American flags and Trump-Pence flags flapped in the wind.

The rally, sponsored by a group called N.C. Deplorables United, took up about a quarter of Halifax Mall, a grassy area in downtown Raleigh surrounded by state government buildings. It was one of a series of March 4 Trump events held around the country.

Billy Powell of Wilmington held a handmade sign that said, “We are family All my deplorables and me.”

Powell said he likes Trump because he is not a typical politician and wants to support the president in any way he can.

“He’s not going to say what all the other politicians want him to say,” said Powell, 36. “He’s going to say what needs to be said.”

The gathering brought back some of the themes familiar to candidate Trump’s campaign rallies, with the crowd chanting at various times “Build that wall,” “Lock her up” and “Drain the swamp.”

At a far end of the mall, a small group of detractors holding black banners and using noisemakers served as foils to the pro-Trump speakers. Most of the protesters had their faces covered and would not give their names.

Watch a peaceful confrontation between a small group of Trump supporters and another of protesters at the March 4 Trump rally at Halifax Mall in Raleigh, NC.

Michele Nix, vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party, implied that the protesters did not have “real paying jobs.”

“You have people who don’t like our country,” she said.

Speakers at the rally decried forces they said are trying to discredit and malign Trump.

You can’t say that the man is not living up to his promises.

State Sen. Ron Rabin, referring to President Donald Trump

State Sen. Ron Rabin, a Harnett County Republican and an early Trump supporter, said the “mainstream media,” “the entertainment colony,” academics at elite universities and the United Nations are working against Trump.

“Our president is under attack from every direction,” he said.

Opposition to Trump has drawn thousands of marchers to Raleigh in the past two months, first for the Women’s March in January, and then in February for HKonJ, or Historic Thousands on Jones Street, organized by the state NAACP.

The state Democratic Party said Trump is not making good on his promises.

“President Trump has been all talk and no action,” Mike Gwin, state Democratic Party spokesman, said in a statement. “Instead of working to fix a broken political system or bring back good-paying jobs, he’s spent his time golfing and getting into fights on Twitter.

“We’re less than two months into his term and it’s clear already that his Administration is mired in a swamp of its own incompetence and fringe ideology – not to mention lingering questions about his ties with Russia.”

Even on that, Trump supporters disagreed. Rabin, in his speech, said Trump is doing what he said he would.

“You can say what you want to,” Rabin said. “You can’t say that the man is not living up to his promises.”

Carroll and Linda Guthrie traveled more than seven hours from Georgia to attend the rally.

Linda Guthrie, 53, had a small Trump doll she held to people’s faces as if it were kissing them. She said the rally was worth the trip.

“He needs our support,” she said.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

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