Supporters pack Trump, Pence rally in Elkhart

ELKHART, Ind. (WLS) -- Supporters of President Donald Trump packed an Elkhart, Indiana gymnasium decked out in Trump t-shirts and Make America Great Again hats Thursday to hear Trump and Vice President Mike Pence speak at a rally.

"Oh my gosh, I'm a total Trump supporter, have been since day one," Dee Bontrager, of Elkhart, said.

Many families gathered for the event to give their children a rare chance to see a president in person. Some supporters got in line early Thursday morning to be sure they would get in to the rally.

During the event, Trump gave an hour-long speech that touched on jobs creation. 33,000 jobs have been created in Indiana since Trump took office.

The rally also focused on Mike Braun, who won the Republican primary in Indiana's Senate race Tuesday. He will face incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly in November in a race is considered critical for the Republican Party.

"I believe this year, those Senate races are the most important political contest for the future of the country," said Elkhart County Republican Party Chairman Dan Holtz.

Hundreds of supporters could not get seats inside the gym and listened from outside. Street vendors capitalized on Trump's popularity to sell t-shirts and hats.

"It's been really good, there's a lot of excitement in the air because the president's coming, it's one of the few opportunities you get the president and vice president both here," said vendor David Dickson.

Trump is popular among Elkhart residents because his policies are seen as good for the Elkhart County economy.

"Whenever a president comes to visit, it brings hope and you want to hear the message of the future, you want to hear what they have to say," said Shelly Frantz.
"I'll be out here with my chair and I'll be waiting for it to go by and I will standing with my hand over my heart," said Elkhart business owner Kathy Livings, who waited along the motorcade route.

Other topics touched on by the president included building a border wall, the release of Korean hostages, the end of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and his anticipated 2020 reelection campaign.
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