Monroe becomes hub for political discussions

Loudspeakers playing “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals rose attendees from their seats. More than 6,000 people waved signs and flags. They knew the president had finally arrived at the Monroe Civic Center.
“Wow, do you have spirit. Hello, Louisiana. Thank you very much, incredible, what a crowd,” said President Donald Trump, addressing the people gathered at the Monroe Civic Center.
For the first time in almost 37 years, a sitting president of the United States visited Monroe Wednesday. Trump, the 45th president, held a “Keep America Great” rally at the Monroe Civic Center. He also took the chance to throw his support behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone. Students at ULM, as well as people from across the state, flocked to the Civic Center. Some even camped out the night before hoping to catch a glimpse of the president.
“I’m really here for a little different reason: It’s called early voting,” Trump said.
John Bel Edwards, the current and Democratic governor of Louisiana, is seeking re-election. He is the only Democratic governor in the deep-south. The president called him a “radical liberal” as he rallied his supporters to hit the polls early and vote-in Rispone.
Other than Rispone, Congressman Ralph Abraham also joined the president on stage as well as Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy. Abraham had a crucial role in bringing the president to Monroe and did so after losing the gubernatorial election to Rispone and Edwards who are scheduled for a run-off. He flew in with the president on Air Force One.
Throughout Wednesday’s rally the president and his guests on stage rallied against Edwards and the “Do Nothing Democrats.” Sen. Kennedy took his time on stage to attack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her role in the impeachment scandal that’s plagued the president recently.
“I don’t mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb,” Kennedy said.
A planned protest before the event in support of Edwards was cancelled but protesters were still present. Members from College Democrats at ULM protested the president and supported Edwards from across the street at the Monroe Civic Center in front of the Monroe City Hall.
Cameron Ott, a member of College Democrats at ULM, said he believes that rallies and protesting are both essential to the political process.
“I believe effective change cannot happen unless direct action is taken,” said Ott, a junior political science major. “That’s why I was at the NAACP rally in front of city hall. It lets others know that their ideas or opinions aren’t invalid if they don’t think like everyone else in the area.”
While the Republicans held their event in the afternoon, Edwards visited the town in the morning to thank his supporters ahead of the presidential visit.
The governor was also in town Thursday. The president is expected to visit the state again Thursday in Bossier City.