Trump’s tour be­gins with low-key crowd CINCIN­NATI:

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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