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Former President Donald Trump essentially took over an entire town in South Carolina for a rally there on Saturday, with an estimated 50,000 people showing up.
“Taking over the movie-set-like Main Street of a town of 3,300 in the hills of South Carolina on Saturday, Trump put on a show of force not only in his stronghold of rural America but in an early primary state where he remains dominant,” Politico reported.
The report added: “In front of a crowd local officials estimated may have reached 50,000, Trump barged onto the home-state turf of two of his primary opponents, Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott. The size of Trump’s audience — and its fervor — was the latest ominous sign not only for them but for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s top rival, who is desperately trying to peel off part of Trump’s base in this first-in-the-South primary state.”
“It was hardworking patriots like you who built this country, and it is hardworking patriots like you who are going to save our country,” Trump said at one point during his rally. “2024 is our final battle. Under our leadership, the forgotten men and women will be forgotten no longer.”
The former president attracted a large crowd from neighboring counties and other states, causing businesses to shut down and putting a strain on local resources in the 3-square-mile city, Politico noted further.
Trump in SC: Crowd of (more than!) 50,000 packs Pickens. https://t.co/hMqv2c8DQP
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) July 2, 2023
Taking advantage of the city’s prearranged annual Independence Day festival, Trump announced the rally two weeks prior, following efforts by his team and support from Republican elected officials in the state to convince the city to agree to Secret Service shutdowns along its main business strip, the outlet noted further.
“It was a sharp contrast from the event DeSantis held in South Carolina last week — a more subdued affair where he took questions in a North Augusta community center,” Politico noted further.
In Pickens, preparations were made by vendors days ahead, and local residents attempted to rent out parking spaces in their front yards for $50. A few attendees even camped outside the entry gate overnight.
On Saturday, the line to enter stretched through the city center, while entrepreneurial individuals sold camping chairs, bottled water, and hot dogs. Rallygoers improvised by tearing up cardboard boxes to create fans, and Trump’s campaign worked urgently to distribute pallets of water and Gatorade to keep the crowd hydrated, the outlet noted further.
At approximately 11 a.m., enthusiastic cheers filled the street as Trump’s branded plane soared overhead. The school choir from Greenville, which had recently been prohibited from singing the national anthem inside the U.S. Capitol rotunda, delivered their performance. Despite Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had endorsed Trump, being present, his remarks were consistently drowned out by boos from the crowd.
“I was open,” Tena Stark, a Pickens native who currently resides in Tennessee, said regarding the GOP primary field. “But my mind is made up now. I feel like he’s the strongest man for the job.”
“This state picks presidents,” former Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said on stage. He, too, has endorsed Trump.
“When we come together and show this kind of support for an individual, it speaks volumes about the eventual nominee,” he added.
Some recent polls even have Trump moving ahead of President Biden.
According to the latest Harvard-Harris poll, there has been a notable surge in support for Trump, suggesting a potential path to victory next year if he secures the GOP nomination. According to the survey, Trump led Biden 47-40 percent.
The survey also assessed hypothetical contests involving Trump and other prominent Democrats. The results, for instance, showed Trump with 50 percent support compared to Vice President Kamala Harris, with 39 percent.