Trump’s tour begins with low-key crowd CINCINNATI:
For the first event on his post-election “thank you” tour, US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday drew a crowd of several thousand people to a Cincinnati arena-but perhaps one that lacked the fervor seen at his campaign rallies. The US Bank Arena in the Ohio city has a capacity of more than 17,000, but on Thursday night before the Republican billionaire was due to take the stage with running mate Mike Pence, about half the seats were empty.
On October 13, a few weeks before Election Day, enthusiastic Trump supporters packed the arena — 21,000 of them, according to the president-elect himself at the time. “It’s cold outside,” said Tim Smolinski, a 63-year-old semi-retired aerospace engineer, who had no trouble finding a good seat along with his wife.
Other attendees said huge traffic jams and sealed-off roads near the venue home to the minor league Cincinnati Cyclones ice hockey team-could explain why the arena was not full. Throughout the presidential campaign, which ended with Trump’s November 8 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Manhattan property mogul drew huge enthusiastic crowds. But on Thursday, there was no wait at the security checkpoint to enter-and also no lines at the concession stands.
Those present nevertheless were thrilled that the 70-yearold Trump has undertaken what is essentially a victory tour-an unusual step for a newly elected president-in the key swing states that handed him the presidency. “I think it’s just exciting that he even wants to spend the time to acknowledge the people that brought him to the place that he is,” said 71-yearold Terry Babic, 71, who said he is retired but still does radio broadcasting.
Babic said he and his wife drove five hours from Cleveland just to attend. The Trump supporters in attendance said that so far, the president-elect had met their expectations during the transition period before he succeeds Barack Obama on January 20, despite media reports of tensions and hiccups in the process. — AFP