Cowboy politics: Thousands in Casper rally for former President Donald Trump | New
CASPER — Calling Wyoming’s Republican primary for the state’s only U.S. House seat the most important midterm race in the nation, former President Donald Trump didn’t hold back the “ridiculous thought and stupid by Liz Cheney”.
A Trump rally in Casper on Saturday afternoon saw nearly 10,000 Trump supporters from across the region gather in the Ford Wyoming Center and thousands more gather outside the arena to cheer on the 45th president of the United States and pushing for more conservative values represented in politics.
The event was also a huge campaign boost for Republican Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Cheney for her seat in Congress. Trump has endorsed Hageman as he continues to criticize Cheney for his vote to impeach him and his involvement with the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the 2021 uprising at the U.S. Capitol.
Calling Cheney Wyoming’s “stupid RINO (Republican in name only) Congresswoman who “went crazy” and the “unselected committee” panel, Trump said she had become a driving force behind one of “unbalanced, anarchic and dangerous”. witch hunts of all time.
Loud vocals from “USA!” rumbled in the arena as Trump entered and headed for the podium, then puffed up again at other points in his speech.
He also performed in front of the crowd, acknowledging Wyoming’s long and deep Republican roots. The state voted 70% for him in 2020 and is the birthplace of the term “ultra-MAGA”, referring to Trump’s famous Make America Great Again slogan.
“We won Wyoming by the biggest margin of any state in the country, red or blue,” the former president said. “This is MAGA country. This is the ultra-MAGA country. Ultra-MAGA, even better.
He also drew cheers and applause when he launched a jab at the assembled press covering the rally.
“Why, oh why, are there so many?” Trump asked. “Every one of them is fake news, every one of them.”
He said that “the press is so corrupt” and that there is no more free speech in America. A Republican-controlled Congress would fix that, he said.
On other national issues, Trump reiterated his concerns about the US electoral system. He urged a move away from alternative voting methods, such as postal voting, and for elections to be decided solely by paper ballots cast all at once.
And for Wyoming, he didn’t leave without a few swipes at the state’s previously criticized primary regulations that allow voters to switch parties for the primary.
He is also not a fan of Republican Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.
“Wyoming thought they were electing a conservative warrior,” Trump said. “Instead, they got a lapdog for (Democratic House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi and a DNC (Democratic National Committee) lapdog.”
While all eyes were on the podium when Trump took the stage, most of the roughly 10,000 people who gathered in the arena and thousands more outside had already celebrated for hours.
The first people who wanted to see the former president were already lined up in front of the Ford Wyoming Center at sunrise.
By the time the gates were ready to open at 11 a.m., crowds of excited Republicans dressed head-to-toe in red, white and blue and many wearing MAGA hats filled the parking lot. Many ate at food trucks, bought gear from vendors and took photos with each other as they prepared to go through security.
The words ‘brother’, ‘sister’ and ‘family’ were used as rallying cries as participants described what it was like to see masses marching towards the centre. Others said it was an expression of love.
“It makes you feel like you’re not alone,” Dawn Marquardt said of the atmosphere at Casper.
Marquardt traveled 200 miles from La Barge to bask in the sense of community at the rally and to show support for candidates preparing for the state’s Republican primary. Many traveled hundreds of miles throughout the region to attend.
She said it was exciting to be at the rally not just because she’s a Trump supporter, but because she’s a strong believer in Hageman’s campaign. Both Trump and Hageman spoke during the crescendo of the rally as Trump pushed his endorsement of Hageman in the Aug. 16 Republican primary.
Marquardt also wants Hageman to overthrow Cheney.
“I think she didn’t listen to what Wyoming voters wanted this last year,” Marquardt said of Cheney. “And so, I think Harriet (Hageman) is going to listen to us and hopefully stand up for us and fight for Wyoming.”
The main concern she hoped to see addressed by Hageman, an environmental lawyer, was how to boost Wyoming’s economy through its mining industries. Marquardt said the state needs to drill and exploit more resources to provide more home energy.
Marquardt wasn’t the only Wyoming native looking for solutions during the rally.
State Senator Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, addressed thousands of attendees and endorsed Hageman at a pre-rally event.
Before hitting the stage, she was just another horny Republican queuing with her hubby. She told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that it was “incredible” to see so many patriots standing up for Republican Party values.
“Honestly, I can’t think of a better word for it,” she said.
Later that afternoon, she told the crowd that sending Cheney’s challenger to Congress was an answer Wyoming needed, and that like-minded candidates needed to win other local offices and of state.
Steinmetz claimed his concern was spurred by the Democrats’ desire to destroy the U.S. economy, as inflation makes life harder by making it more expensive to fill up on gas and afford to put food on Table.
“The Democrats are literally having breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she told the thousands of listeners in the arena.
Those from out of state are also personally invested in Wyoming’s political races this summer. They expressed what this means for the nation as a whole.
Bruce Whalen said he wants to see the Republican Party unite because there is a struggle in America. He said many have sided with Democrats against the MAGA crowd, which he says numbers 100 million nationwide. A Trump campaign slogan has been to make America great. Whalen said Democrats don’t understand that Trump supporters are fighting for freedom.
A candidate on the Republican primary ticket for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota, Whalen traveled nearly six hours with his friends from his home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
“We’re going to get up,” he said as he stood in line. “If we don’t, we’re going to lose America before our eyes and become one giant Indian reservation, just like Pine Ridge, South Dakota.”
Members of the group he attended the event with said they were just as concerned as Whalen.
Marguerite McPhillips said she was related to John and Samuel Adams, who signed the Declaration of Independence, and would turn in their graves if they witnessed what was happening in America today. His claim of historical kinship could not be confirmed before press time.
“It sickens me that we have allowed ourselves to become a third world nation,” she said. “And it makes me sick because they fought hard for us.”
Michigan merchandise sellers Mark Gobie and Heather Zoellner said they were also passionate about “taking their country back.”
But they said it wasn’t their No. 1 priority coming to the event. They travel all over the country to attend Trump rallies because they want to show their support by spreading the love.
Gobie said the vibe and energy of the rallies drew him in, and that’s overkill.
“That’s how God is, he’s exaggerated, in your face,” he said. “And all these people here know, we’re all on the same page.”
Another saleswoman, Heather Zoellner, said she was also inspired by the love and purpose of Trump’s rallies. She says she admires that he travels the country showcasing real people, whether for good or bad reasons. She said it was important to know who the best candidates were.
“We need good guys in Congress because there’s only 2% good guys,” Zoellner said. “That’s a very low number.”
Before concluding his remarks, the former president referred to the recent school shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. He did not mention Democrats’ gun control efforts, but said America needed to build safer schools.
“Our ears mourn the terrible loss and send our love to the families,” Trump said. “They are devastated, the whole country is devastated. In fact, the whole world is devastated.
As Trump wrapped up the rally, he named a host of local and state Republicans who he said are doing a good job for conservatives. Then he asked a question that elicited the strongest response of the afternoon.
“Does anyone want me to introduce myself again?” He asked.