Trump adviser Chris Sims’ friend nailed it.
Sims, who ran Yellowhammer Media in Birmingham until he hooked up with Trump, said that unnamed friend had just sent him a text that likened President-elect Donald Trump’s “Thank You” rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday afternoon to “something between a Lynyrd Skynyrd Concert and Talladega.”
There was a little Broadway thrown in (“Memory” from “Cats” at one point blasted from the speakers) for good measure. And “God Bless the USA,” “Revolution,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Sweet Home Alabama” all graced the full-throated PA system.
It was an eclectic, overwhelmingly white crowd. There were older people using canes and walkers. Babies in strollers. They wore jeans, dress slacks and dresses. One fellow wore overalls. “Make America Great Again” caps and Santa hats were, of course, popular.
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So were “Hillary for Prison” shirts.
One speaker even channeled The Grateful Dead, saying, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”
It was very similar to the August 2015 rally at the stadium, which speaker after speaker said was the dawn of the Trump movement.
“I’m here (as president-elect) because of that wild day we had here,” Trump said. “It opened up the world’s eyes. Even the media.”
But Trump also argued over and over that one of his favorite foils — the media — never really understood his movement.
He described with glee how TV newscasters held up hope until the wee hours that Trump would lose, only to look increasingly depressed as swing state after swing state turned red.
Exit polls, he claimed, were a dishonest attempt to suppress the vote.
“We tend to trust the media,” he said. “This is not Walter Cronkite (he said of the media pen behind the crowd pressed together at the front of the stage).”
He did take shots at all his favorite targets as well: Hillary Clinton, Obamacare and illegal immigrants. The crowd roared each time. And each time he mentioned “the dishonest media.”
“Lock her up,” they chanted.
“USA! USA!” they yelled.
“Build that wall” was on repeat throughout the afternoon.
It was billed as a “Thank You Tour” and thanks were handed out profusely.
Trump thanked the voters, the military, law enforcement and veterans. And an array of speakers who preceded him thanked Trump.
“I have an opinion,” said evangelist Franklin Graham, referring to the reason Trump ran. “God showed up. He answered the prayers of thousands.”
And Trump again laid out his agenda in broad strokes.
“We’re going to straighten things out,” he said, by, for one thing, spending as wisely as he did on his campaign. “For all the young people, when you spend less money and win, that’s a good thing.”
His three-part economic agenda was simple: “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Those would come as regulations are rolled back, companies are punished for moving jobs overseas and his ambitious infrastructure program gets underway, he said.
“We’ll get Americans off welfare and back in the labor force.”
Oh, and that wall on the southern border?
“Don’t worry, we’re going to build that wall.”