NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) - More than 13,000 supporters and enthusiasts of President Donald Trump showed up to cheer for the nation’s commander and chief on the eve of one of the most influential primary elections in the country's process.
Several supporters opted to campout at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performance Center in order to jockey for a prim spot in the first come, first served line into the city’s venue.
“I took the day off because this is a once in life time chance to be a part of history. We spent the night here in a tent; it was cold. We went to a President Trump tailgate party last night,” said Sheri Porter from Charleston suburb Mount Pleasant.
Porter added she firmly believed that neither former Vice President Joe Biden nor Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders could draw a crowd as large at President Trump did by five hours before his rally.
“I mean look at all of these people, South Carolina clearly prefers Trump,” Porter said.
President Trump agreed during the first moments of his address. There were 13,000 seats in the North Charleston Coliseum and that was clearly not enough for the rally’s turnout; hundreds of Trump supporters resorted to remaining in the parking lot to watch the address on a giant screen in the parking lot.
“Down the road there is a Democrat before the Democratic election tomorrow. You saw how many people were here for me today. That Democrat is trying to get 100 people, but that count won’t show up, they will end up with a round table to discuss the definition of impeachment,” Trump said. “They are all about the fake news.”
Weighing in about the coronavirus pandemic Trump pointed out that 35,000 to 100,000 people die each year in the U.S. from influenza.
“I’m not saying no one here will die from it, but the media has blown it out of proportion. They are trying the politicize it. It’s very dishonest,” Trump said.
Trump went on to state that Democrats will say anything to make Republicans look bad.
“We are taking the coronavirus serious. Things happen. We are prepared,”he said.
Trump also accused Democrats of opening the nation’s doors to illegal immigrants, human trafficking, drugs and deadly foreign diseases.
Shannon Ross of Goose Creek camped out in the venue’s parking lot in order to ensure she secured a spot inside the coliseum to cheer on her political champion.
Individuals who arrived to the line for entry to the rally less than seven hours prior to the event were redirected to the parking lot to view the night’s happenings from the giant screen.
Stacy Holland says she joined the military to defend the country that she loves and earned funds to attend college.
“(Senator) Bernie (Sanders) wants to just give things away. Is that what we should teach our children, that they are entitled to everything free? Should we teach our children that they don’t have to work what they get,” Holland said. “I used to hate Trump; I really hated him, but when he started his campaigne, I changed and now I love him.
Timothy Myers of Mount Pleasant said he admires President Trump and likes the direction that the U.S. is headed.
“My 401K is growing faster than it ever has. My health insurance is more affordable and better than it was. My taxes are lower, my income is higher and the number of illegal immigrants is lower,” Myers said as he stood in line at 2 p.m. for the rally that started five hours later.
Governor Henry McMaster said “President Trump loves South Carolina, he loves you and he loves this country.”
McMaster, who said he was one of President Trump’s earliest supporters, added that the Gross Domestic Product is the highest it’s been in 13 years and the Palmetto State is experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in history at 2.3%.
“Taxes are down and growth is up. In the past three years that President Trump has been in office we have added 125,000 here in South Carolina,” McMaster said. “America is now standing tall, our allies are happy and our enemies are scared. America is again respected around the world.”
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.