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Dozens brave cold winds to rally for Trump

Jack Williams, left, his son Jesse Williams, center, and Justin Lauderdale rallied with others on Saturday to support President Trump. “He’s an everyday American, like us,” Jack Williams said. “The Washington politicians don’t know how to handle him.”
Jack Williams, left, his son Jesse Williams, center, and Justin Lauderdale rallied with others on Saturday to support President Trump. “He’s an everyday American, like us,” Jack Williams said. “The Washington politicians don’t know how to handle him.” The Wichita Eagle

Jack Williams and the 80 or so supporters of President Donald Trump who rallied in Wichita on Saturday said they didn’t care about what happened to Republican health care legislation on Friday.

Headlines in the mainstream media on Saturday? Calling Trump’s first legislative gamble a failure?

Shrug.

They showed up with Infowars T-shirts and American flags and blue Trump flags and “Don’t Tread On Me” flags. “Hillary for Prison,” one T-shirt said.

They wanted to support Trump. Support of military veterans was another reason most said they had come.

Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump clash outside Century II in Wichita, Kansas. (By Oliver Morrison/The Wichita Eagle)

“We’re proud of our boy,” Williams said, as he held up a big American flag that furled out into the stiff, cold wind.

“He’s been doing great so far, and those politicians in Washington? They don’t know how to handle him. I know he’s a billionaire and all, but he’s just an everyday American like us, and they don’t know how to handle that.”

Williams showed up wearing his black leather biker jacket, sunglasses on a cloudy day, and a black headscarf wrapped tight around his head. Other Trump supporters held up flags and signs and marched downtown in blustery cold.

He’s just an everyday American like us, and they don’t know how to handle that.

Jack Williams, Trump supporter

Justin Lauderdale, who held up a large “Don’t Tread On Me” flag alongside Williams and Williams’ son Jesse, said the health care move on Friday did concern him. House Speaker Paul Ryan, with Trump supporting him, said he did not have the votes to pass the Republican bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act and pulled it.

“I don’t know why the bill was not acceptable to those who opposed it,” Lauderdale said. “It seems like every time President Trump does one thing, he’s got 10 people doing things to hold him back.”

A man named Glen, the only name he wanted used for this story, showed up with two big hand-lettered signs: “Drain The Swamp,” and “Lock Up Corrupt Politicians.” He included Ryan in that category, along with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Sen. Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Unlike Lauderdale, he was not unhappy about Friday’s legislative move.

“It was bad legislation,” Glen said. “I heard that it took support away from veterans, and didn’t end Obamacare – it just changed it.”

Williams and others turned out also to support military veterans, the police and firefighters. Supporting people is what he does all day, he said. He works at a nursing home as a certified dietary manager, and that nursing home, Orchard Gardens, helps feed the homeless, he said.

He has supported Trump since Trump first started campaigning. Not everybody does. “My mother is a Democrat, and she doesn’t like this,” he said with a grin.

“But whatever.”

Donald Trump supporters filled the Century II Exhibition Hall for his last-minute rally on Saturday morning, only to find themselves stranded in a line of thousands waiting to caucus. Ted Cruz supporters, meanwhile, dominated the crowd during the caucus speeches, booing Trump. John Albert/The Wichita Eagle

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