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Smaller crowd remains supportive of Trump, policies during Saturday rally

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OKC press failed to provide citizens with advance notice, organizer laments

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attendance at a support rally for President Donald Trump was much less than anticipated, but the small crowd was just as enthusiastic and vocal, organizer Leslie NesSmith said.

The rally, held at the south steps of the State Capitol, attracted only one protester, which bothered NesSmith.

“I would have been happy to see more protesters,” she said. “I want the opportunity to speak to people with a different mindset. I want to let them know we’re not evil.”

Trump has come under fire for his stances on immigration, health care and alleged ties to Russian leader Vladamir Putin.

Although Trump has been president for more than 60 days, NesSmith compared the support rallies to fans who cheer at high school team’s state championship upon their return home.

“You want them to know you appreciate their effort and the fact they won the championship,” she said.

In this case, Trump won the presidency but did not receive the majority of the popular vote.

Although the attendance was down from the March 4 rally, NesSmith estimated the crowd at 300 people. She blamed the lack of people to milder weather and lack of advance coverage by Oklahoma City news outlets.

“There were reporters here today, but hardly anything before the event,” she said. “They give us publicity when they think it’s going to be violent, but they don’t show up when it’s going to be a peaceful rally.”

NesSmith rejected the idea that Oklahomans are tired of the Trump rallies, especially since he won.

“I feel like with any issue, can you have too many rallies or focus on any issue too much? I don’t think so. We want to show our support for President Trump. A lot of people who came today couldn’t come on March 4,” she said.

NesSmith noted that both Oklahoma City rallies for Trump have been peaceful, while others around the nation have been cancelled because of violence.

Julie Thomas, a state employee, said she continues to attend the rallies despite being ridiculed by family and friends.

“I’ve been told to silence what I say around family, to be quiet,” she said. “It’s discrimination. Some of my friends and family won’t talk to me because of my beliefs. I’ve also been deleted from Facebook.”

Thomas said she was at Saturday’s rally because “it’s important.”

“Trump is Obama’s legacy,” she said. “Because of Obama, we’re so divided. God gave us Trump and we need to give him [Trump] a chance. They [liberals] shot him down since the day he was elected. People need to support the president. He wants to make this country great again.”

At times, Thomas said, she believes conservatives have been hushed by a more vocal liberal contingent.

“It breaks my heart. We’ve lost our free speech. You can’t say anything without being criticized. On the other side, they can talk and it’s usually ugly,” she said.

Allen Cook, of Edmond, said he’s pleased that Trump’s focus is on America.

“I’m pleased someone is focusing on home instead of abroad,” he said. “I am disheartened about repeal and replace not passing. I think we need to give him [Trump] a chance. I’d like to see more people support the things he’s been talking about.”

Kit Daggs, the daughter of a retired Air Force officer, said she supports Trump because he supports the military.

“All I ask is give Mr. Trump a chance,” she said. “I think he’s done a magnificent job from the start. He’s brought jobs back and he’s done what he said he would do. He’s also trying to protect our borders. He was nominated and chosen as president and now it’s time we all come together as citizens. I would say that for any president.”

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Tim Farley

Tim Farley is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience, including...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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