Trump rally draws all types to Green Bay
By Lee Reinsch
ASHWAUBENON – It’s not every day the average Wisconsinite sees a sitting U.S. president in person, and that alone might have been reason enough to turn out Saturday, April 27, to the Resch Center to see the man currently holding office, Donald Trump.
But many supporters who were turned away from the door due to lack of space didn’t go away.
They huddled in front of the Resch enduring temperatures in the 40s, most without gloves or hats, where a jumbotron showed what they were missing inside the arena, not the least of which was body heat.
Veteran Ed Badendick of Racine was visiting a friend in Oconto, and the pair hoped to see the president in person.
Their lightweight clothing didn’t make it easy, however, and they took off, likely to watch the show from a television in a warm living room.
But Badendick said he thinks Trump is “a great man doing a great job.”
“I think he needs to get in there for four more years, and maybe he can clean stuff up,” Badendick, a truck driver, said.
He said he’s been trucking cheese down to McAllen, Texas, for 15 years and transporting produce back to Wisconsin.
“I’m at the border often and it’s a mess down there, I tell you firsthand, with what’s coming off with immigration,” he said.
Badendick said he’s proud to be an American.
“This is a great country, and a lot of great women and great men died to make it great,” he said.
Ken Kozak of Green Bay, sporting a trim beard and camouflage jacket, showed up to see a sitting president.
He said his son suggested they go.
“He said ‘Did you know Trump was coming, and would you like to go?’ I said ‘You bet,’” Kozak said. “I’ve never been to a political rally. I thought wow, what a great time to see our president.”
As it turned out, he didn’t get inside to see the president.
While he would have liked to have gotten inside, more than that, he said, he wanted the country to be unified.
“It breaks my heart to see all of the division going on,” he said. “We’ve got so many people that are so far polarized that if you do one thing, you’re going to destroy the other, and if you do the other thing, you’re going to destroy another. Our country is not close to being destroyed.”
Only 28 percent of Wisconsin voters in a recent Marquette Law School poll saying they’re sure they’ll vote for Trump in 2020.
The Dairy State is one of three manufacturing states he won in 2016, but which are reporting waning support for him.
The others are Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Brown County voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by fewer than 14,000 votes.
Louella Rosario and her husband brought their daughters, Luann, 18, and Lynn, 11, of De Pere, to the Resch Center.
“It’s just a historical moment,” Louella said. “Not everyone gets to be in this great country, and not everyone gets to see a sitting president.”
As it turned out, they didn’t get to see him, either, but getting close was almost as good.
She said she’s been in the country for a handful of years and next year will be the first presidential election she’ll be able to legally vote in.
Souvenir peddler Scott Menge, a Manitowoc County native who currently lives in Texas, drove here to sell Trump bobbleheads, pins, and Magic Trump Balls.
He said he’s a proud supporter of the man in office.
“I’m a proud Trump-backer and Democrat-smacker,” Menge said.
He also said he supports reforming the prison system and legalizing medical marijuana.
Krista Buckner, De Pere, walked the grounds surrounding the Resch Center with a message of peace.
Carrying a sign reading, “Love thy Neighbour,” she said she wanted to remind people that we’re all human beings, living together on the same planet.
“On a day when I sense that emotions may be running high, I thought it was important to say that we all need to love one another,” she said. “And the only way we can solve problems is by working together.”
Buckner said not everyone in her circle is on the same page politically or theologically.
“But we all recognize that we have to be compassionate to each other and to everyone we meet,” she said. “I value other points of view and expect people to respect mine, too.”