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Politics

Trump caravan in Baltimore County draws flag-waving, honking supporters

They came with their large pickup trucks, cars, and even a trailer with a boat, but no matter what the mode of transportation, the vehicles seemed dwarfed by their dozens of large Trump flags and signs.

After saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a noon gathering Sunday at the Eastern Regional Park in Baltimore County, participants jumped into at least 100 cars and drove down Eastern Avenue honking and waving flags along the way to the Boulevard Diner in Dundalk, where President Donald Trump once had a bite to eat in 2016.

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“The Democratic Party is so corrupt,” said Jim Hopkins, of Middle River, as he sat in his truck waiting for the caravan to begin. “They will tax the hell out of us. ... They are disgusting people.”

A woman with a dollar bill across her cleavage and a red Trump mask pulled down below her mouth, identified herself as “Vote for Trump.” When asked why she was voting for Trump, she said, “Sick of the s--t, drain the swamp.”

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In the next car in the Trump train of vehicles was a 3- or 4-foot iguana balanced on the driver’s arm.

A man leaned in and asked whether the iguana was real. It was.

On a beautiful fall day, the dozens of Trump supporters who turned up for the political rally seemed intent on having a good time as well as making their point. Outside the diner on Merritt Boulevard, they covered median strips and street corners, getting a mostly warm reception from those driving by who honked and gave them thumbs-up.

Michael Hess, a Trump look-alike from Essex, was dressed up in a blond wig, a black overcoat and heavy makeup that made him look remarkably like the president. He even turned heads as he waved to people driving by. Hess said his Trump impersonation began several years ago when he dressed up for a boat parade.

“I am sick of all our jobs going overseas,” he said, adding that he thinks politicians are “padding their pockets.”

Hess, like a number of other people in the crowd, said he doesn’t believe the polls that show Biden has a lead over Trump. The pollsters were wrong in 2016, he said. “You look at all our rallies. The enthusiasm is there," Hess said.

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Ruth Goetz, who represents District 2 on the Baltimore County Republican State Central Committee, said she helped organize the event. “It’s amazing, a huge, huge success,” she said.

Few in the crowd wore masks at the rally, and Goetz said she was not concerned people might contract COVID-19.

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“We are outside and breathing fresh air. There are medicines and vitamins. It is not necessarily a death sentence. God created us to breathe fresh air," Goetz said.

As supporters chanted, “Four more years,” Goetz walked through the crowd passing out printed literature that discouraged vaccinations.

State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, representing Baltimore County, stood in the median strip shouting through a bullhorn to encourage the crowd of Trump supporters. Salling said the Republicans have held Trump parades and rallies throughout Maryland and that he believes the president will win the Nov. 3 general election.

“I don’t believe in the polls. I don’t believe in fake news. I believe the president will win convincingly because there is a silent majority that will come out to vote for him," said Salling, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional District.

Kathleen Smero, the chair of the Baltimore County Republican Party, said she believed that overall the spirited rally went well, although one person driving by spit at a demonstrator and another gave the crowd the finger and shouted an obscenity about the president. “We live in a democracy. We should all be able to not get spit and cursed at,” she said.


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