SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) – The 2018 election is just over a month away, and the Mid-South was in the spotlight Tuesday night for state and national politics.
President Donald Trump landed in Memphis just after 5 p.m. Tuesday before leaving for a “Make America Great Again” rally in Southaven, Mississippi.
The crowd eager to see President Donald Trump in Southaven made their way to Landers Center early.
Thousands of people made their way to the area ahead of the night’s rally at 6:30 p.m. Some even arrived before the sun rose.
With a heat index soaring to near 100, Trump supporters found tents, fans and cold beverages essential. But that didn’t keep Trump supporters away.
“I’m 84 years old so I knew I had to make this trip,” Sammie Merritt said.
By afternoon, Southaven paramedics were called in. A police officer said they responded to multiple heat-related calls.
Once the doors opened, the crowd of hot supporters filed in after hours of waiting to take their seats to see the president.
“The reason I wanted to be here was to show that Trump has our support that does not mean I agree with everything but he is our president and I am here to support him,” Denise Tucker said.
It’s the second presidential visit to the arena. In 2003, then-president George W. Bush visited Southaven.
The President had plenty to say about the controversy over his Supreme Court nominee.
It was a Senate race that brought the President back to Mississippi, but it was his battle in Washington over his choice for the Supreme Court that he spent a great deal of time talking about.
WMC5’s Kelli Cook clocked a little less than 20 minutes of his speech that was spent talking about Brett Kavanaugh.
Another big message from the President was if you support him, then you must support the Republican ticket.
“I’ve got to say, 2020 is looking really easy,” President Trump said.
A crowd of thousands stood in line for hours under the blazing sun to hear the President stick to common themes from the economy to even building the wall.
“This was like a rock concert, I mean the star comes out he does his greatest hits, the songs people wanna hear, lock her up, build the wall,” said WMC5 political analyst Michael Nelson.
But by far, he spent the most time talking about his nominee for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
“They’ve been trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced because they know he will follow the constitution as written,” President Trump said.
But the President went off script, taking jabs at Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony, the woman who accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her.
“That’s new because up until now he and other Republicans sort of treating her respectively, but this was really dismissive,” Nelson said.
President Trump lands in Memphis
However, Judge Kavanaugh is not what brought the President to Southaven.
It was Cindy-Hyde Smith in an unusually close race for the U.S. Senate.
“We’re going to get on Air-Force One and we’re going back to Washington because you know what we’ve got a Supreme Court justice to get confirmed,” Hyde-Smith said.
This rally was for Cindy Hyde-Smith, but there were a lot of supporters there for the man running against her, fellow republican Chris McDaniel.
Another big question Tuesday night was about crowd size. The Landers Center can hold as many as 10,000 people.
Official numbers are not out, but WMC5’s Kelli Cook reported it looked very close to capacity.