Trump regales Louisville crowd with familiar pledges, ignores FBI probe

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/21/trump-regales-l
BYDeborah Yetter, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal 12:02 a.m. ET March 21, 2017
CLOSESkip in Skipx

Embed

x

Share

If so, it would be his first visit as the 45th president of the United States. Rachel Aretakis/Wochit

President Trump listens to the applause during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.(Photo: By Pat McDonogh / The C-J)

548 CONNECTTWEET 1 LINKEDIN 86 COMMENTEMAILMORE

LOUISVILLE — President Trump appeared before a thunderously approving crowd in Louisville Monday, offering a familiar blend of promises to restore jobs, cut taxes and stop illegal immigration.

But above all, the Republican president pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, calling the federal health law "a catastrophe" to cheers in a state where the law helped achieve one of the nation's sharpest drops among people without health insurance.

"This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare," Trump said referring the GOP plan pending in the House. "We're gonna do it."

Trump made no references to the plan's growing difficulties in Congress among both liberals and conservatives. Nor did he mention testimony earlier Monday that discredited his tweets about wiretaps at Trump Tower or about an FBI investigation into suspected ties between his campaign and the Russians.

And the crowd, decked out in Trump T-shirts, "Make America Great Again" caps and waving Trump signs, didn't seem to care.

Read more:

Over and over they roared approval for his familiar campaign lines, joining him in a chant at the end of his speech to "make America great again."

"The United States of America is your country again!" Trump said at the end of his 40-minute speech at Freedom Hall, which was packed with supporters.

Earlier protesters outside waved signs and gave fiery speeches at the gates to Freedom Hall ahead Trump's visit, booing as Air Force One passed overhead for landing.

But their numbers were dwarfed by the long lines of thousands of Trump supporters wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats that snaked around the fairgrounds hours before Trump appeared. Many scorned the demonstrators, calling them “snowflakes.”

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInSigns of protest and support for President Trump FullscreenPost to Facebook

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Comedian and Donald Trump impersonator Dustin Gold interacts with Trump supporters before a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen A sign sits in a supporters vehicle before a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against President Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Mark Hoffman worked in Trump-ing out his truck for over a year. "I've been Trump since day one," Hoffman said. "I was for Trump 10 years ago." Hoffman and others arrived hours before the arrival of Pres. Donald Trump to speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Cori Hill, left, and Stephen Spears wait in line that to see Pres. Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters in oppostion to Pres. Donald Trump stand outside an entrance to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Paul Miracle, a Kentucky coal miner, waits in line before the arrival of Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen A man has an American flag bandana in his back pocket while waiting in line that to see Pres. Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Thousands waiting in a line that wrapped close to half way around the Kentucky Exposition Center for a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Comedian and Donald Trump impersonator Dustin Gold interacts with Trump supporters before a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Supporters prepare for a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Comedian and Donald Trump impersonator Dustin Gold interacts with Trump supporters before a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against President Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Pres. Donald Trump supporters wait in line early in the afternoon to enter the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday to hear the President speak. Thousands would later extend the line to wrap around nearly half of the Kentucky Exposition Center. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen A supporter wears an elephant hat while waiting in line for a visit by Pres. Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Trump supporters hold their hands over their hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance while waiting in line before a visit by Preident Donald Trump to the Kentucky Exposition Center's Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Mark Hoffman worked in Trump-ing out his truck for over a year. "I've been Trump since day one," Hoffman said. "I was for Trump 10 years ago." Hoffman and others arrived hours before the arrival of Pres. Donald Trump to speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen A woman sports a hat with her political views while waiting in line that to see Pres. Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Brooklyn Gordon wears a pair of Trump socks while waiting in line that to see Pres. Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Trump protesters chant and hold signs just outside of an entrance to the Kentucky Exposition Center on Monday before the arrival of Pres. Donald Trump. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Don Cooper of Corydon, Indiana wears American flag sunglasses while waiting in line that to see Pres. Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall on Monday. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreen Protesters against Pres. Donald Trump hold signs outside a Kentucky Exposition Center entrance Monday afternoon. March 20, 2017  Alton Strupp/CJFullscreenReplay1 of 432 of 433 of 434 of 435 of 436 of 437 of 438 of 439 of 4310 of 4311 of 4312 of 4313 of 4314 of 4315 of 4316 of 4317 of 4318 of 4319 of 4320 of 4321 of 4322 of 4323 of 4324 of 4325 of 4326 of 4327 of 4328 of 4329 of 4330 of 4331 of 4332 of 4333 of 4334 of 4335 of 4336 of 4337 of 4338 of 4339 of 4340 of 4341 of 4342 of 4343 of 43AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow Captions

At the end of the night, as Trump supporters flooded out of the area, police went from blocking a group of chanting protesters from entering the front of Freedom Hall to protecting them from a ring of jeering Trump supporters who chanted “USA!” and hurled insults.

“They need to get over it,” said rallygoer Bonnie Rhome. “Accept that he is the president.”

The protests, spearheaded by the liberal group Indivisible Kentucky, have become a fixture at such events, including the recent visit by Vice President Mike Pence to build support for effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.

Many, holding signs such as one reading “Republicare will kill poor, elderly and sick people” and “Stop the lunacy,” said they wanted Obamacare fixed, not replaced by something that might further drive up costs.

“I’m totally against it,” said George Bodina, a Navy veteran who held a handmade sign portraying Trump with a Pinocchio nose. He said Kentucky has benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

Speakers from groups such as Black Lives Matter, Parents for Social Justice and Stand Up Louisville highlighted issues ranging from police shootings to immigrant rights to efforts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Democratic State Rep Jim Wayne told the crowd he thought Trump had a “personality disorder” and was “not equipped to lead this great nation.”

And, as Kentucky emerges as a battleground over efforts to repeal the federal health law, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, undercut Trump's effort to rally support for the effort by announcing he will not vote for it should the legislation even reach the Senate. The proposal is expected to get a vote in the House this week.

"I don't think they have the votes to pass it right now," Paul said, speaking at an event  Monday morning in Louisville.

Paul argues the current legislation doesn't go far enough to repeal Obamacare.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInTrump supporters await President's arrival at Freedom Hall FullscreenPost to Facebook

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

A young man wore an elephant hat to President Donald Trump's speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Governor Matt Bevin signed a make America Proud Again poster upon arrival at President Donald Trump's speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Jim Roberts handed out signs to supporters before President Donald Trump's speech at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen A man checked his phone inside while waiting for Donald Trumps to appear onstage at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen A man lead the crowd in a "Trump" cheer, while waiting for President Donald Trump to speak at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh, The C-JFullscreen John Vollmer sported his Donald Trump socks to a speech by the President at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen A young man wore an elephant hat to President Donald Trump's speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Aw woman waved a Drain the Swamp sign during President Donald Trump's visit to Freedom Hqall in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Governor Matt Bevin is hugged by Grady Thomas, age 8, of Hardyville, Kentucky as he arrived to hear President Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Leonard Bailey traveled from Bowling Green to see President Donald Trump speak at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Bailey takes a photo of the stage before Trumps arrived. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Dr. Ralph Alvarado speaks at the Donald Trump rally at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreenReplay1 of 112 of 113 of 114 of 115 of 116 of 117 of 118 of 119 of 1110 of 1111 of 11AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow Captions

Meanwhile, supporters of the law argue the stakes are huge in Kentucky, where more than a half-million people have gained health coverage under the law, about 440,000 through Medicaid and another 81,000 through commercial health plans bought through the federal online health exchange, healthcare.gov.

On Monday afternoon, the Metro Council’s Democratic Caucus urged Trump to rethink his approach to repealing Obamacare, saying the law has helped the city’s budget by reducing the number of residents who lack health coverage.

Metro Councilwoman Marianne Butler also said Trump’s proposed federal budget is expected to cost the city around $46 million in funding — a figure that doesn’t even include the reductions Jefferson County Public Schools may face.

But Metro Council’s Republican caucus issued its own statement Monday welcoming Trump to town and backing his plan to repeal and replace the ACA.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInGallery l President Trump visits Louisville FullscreenPost to Facebook

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

President Trump points to the crowd during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / CJFullscreen Supporters of President Donald Trump react during his speech at Freedom Hall. mMarch 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Donald Trump speaks in Louisville at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreen President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreen President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Freedom Hall.  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreen President Trump makes a point during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump listens to the applause during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen A young girl screams in support of President Donald Trump during his visit to Freedom Hall tonight. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump listens to the applause during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / CJFullscreen Supporters of President Donald Trump applaud Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin during his speech at Freedom Hall. mMarch 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Supporters of President Donald Trump react during his speech at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Supporters of President Donald Trump react during his speech at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Supporters of President Donald Trump react during his speech at Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell makes a point during a speech prior to President Trump taking the stage at Freedom hall. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump points to the crowd during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump makes a point during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen A Trump supporter listened to the President's speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump listens to the applause during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / CJFullscreen President Trump points to the crowd during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump makes a point during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Trump listens to the applause during his speech at Freedom Hall, in Louisville. March 20, 2017.  By Pat McDonogh / The C-JFullscreen President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Freedom Hall. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreen Donald Trump arrives in Louisville. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreen Donald Trump arrives in Louisville. March 20, 2017  By Michael Clevenger, C-JFullscreenReplay1 of 242 of 243 of 244 of 245 of 246 of 247 of 248 of 249 of 2410 of 2411 of 2412 of 2413 of 2414 of 2415 of 2416 of 2417 of 2418 of 2419 of 2420 of 2421 of 2422 of 2423 of 2424 of 24AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow Captions

Mayor Greg Fischer weighed in too, asking the president to slow down and “keep his promises” on health care.

“President Trump repeatedly promised to pass a health care plan that would provide all Americans with affordable, quality health care coverage at a lower cost. The President’s plan will cause 24 million Americans to lose their health care coverage,” Fischer said in a statement. “The ACA needs to be improved, but the TrumpCare proposal is not the way to do it.“

Monday night's rally was the second time in nine days the administration sought support in Kentucky for the GOP proposal. Vice President Mike Pence visited Louisville March 11 at a small, invitation-only event to plug the health plan and urge support among Kentucky's congressional delegation.

Contributing: Chris Kenning, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. Follow Deborah Yetter on Twitter: @d_yetter

 

548 CONNECTTWEET 1 LINKEDIN 86 COMMENTEMAILMORERead or Share this story: http://usat.ly/2mKdkYK
close