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It was 9:30 a.m. when my friends and I took off to the Knapp Center from Dordt’s campus in Sioux Center. We turned up the radio and I tried to suppress my fears of showing up too late to get in. It was still almost 10 hours before Trump was scheduled to speak.

At about 1:30 p.m., with a belly full of Chick-Fil-A, we walked the quarter-mile from our parking spot following the constant stream of people all heading in the same direction. You could tell that you were getting closer as the sidewalks and streets were suddenly lined with tables, booths and carts full of Trump gear being sold by all sorts of individuals. With five-plus hours to go, we settled into our place in line and quickly struck up a conversation with the two older gentlemen behind us. Like us, they supported the President’s policies and wanted to hear him speak for themselves. When we made it into the Knapp Center around 3 p.m., it was already half-full with thousands more already in line outside.

Taking a spot on the floor of the gymnasium, we continued getting to know the new people we were surrounded by. One particular lady I talked to had been an Obama voter, but explained to me that she switched to Trump due to the ridiculous costs of healthcare. As we continued to wait, signs were distributed around the arena. Even Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale, was helping. Speaking to the enthusiasm of Trump’s supporters, fans were waving their hats and signs to get his signature. Who would’ve thought a campaign manager could reach rock-star status.

By 5 p.m. the newly elected Iowa House Speaker, Pat Grassely, came out to speak. It was clear he was trying to mimic Trump’s energy to gin up the enthusiasm of the crowd, but he was only met by mild cheers. Following, Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa came out. With his booming voice boasting of the President’s accomplishments, he warmed up the crowd effectively.

As songs such as YMCA filled in the gaps of the program, the crowd sang and danced along until Vice President Mike Pence came out. The crowd greeted him warmly with loud cheers. As he typically does, Pence made a compelling case for Trump by laying out the accomplishments of the administration. Pence drew the crowd in with each reminder of what Trump has done for the country. The sureness and direction of Pence’s speech inspired the confidence and gratefulness of Trump’s supporters.

Shortly after Pence left the stage, Trump’s walk-up song, “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood came on. There aren’t words to describe the volume and excitement of this moment. The volume was so loud when Trump came out that it freed all the poor singers to sing along at the top of their lungs with no danger to those around them. President Trump was larger than life and clearly felt at home in front of the crowd. He calmly walked out, stopped to wave at everyone and gleamed with a huge smile.

For more than 80 minutes he spoke to the crowd to wild applause. His rally can only be described as a spectacular performance. Throughout the night, he spoke on every issue I can think of. No matter what he said, there was applause.

Not because his audience is some sort of cult, but because they trust and have reason to trust President Trump.

Unlike the media who fact check Trump for his use of exaggerated claims, his supporters clearly understand the messaging of the President.

Trump’s compassion for America shined through in many of the issues he sought to address. One often ignored issue he discussed was the modern-day slavery that still exists in America called human trafficking. While Democrats split hairs over how to give away free college and free healthcare, President Trump used his voice to speak for those without a voice. Trump shared his administration’s efforts to recruit truckers to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement and act as a force multiplier to identify the problem. This example shows how President Trump loves those that are truly abused and inflicted by criminal activity.

Continuing to address the issues facing our country, President Trump expertly transitioned from issue to issue, freely offering his spontaneous thoughts directly to the people. His tremendous energy was nothing less than impressive. Towards the end of the night, while the President was still going strong pounding on everything from fake news to impeachment, the crowd struggled to match his enthusiasm. The thunderous applause became more labored and short as the crowd grew tired. However, when Trump began winding down his speech, the crowd mustered everything it had left and was drawn back in.

As President Trump left the stage, the final cheers of the night expressed the thankfulness they felt for the President. Thankfulness for all the issues President Trump had fought for.

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Author: Tyler Bouma