Hundreds Of Trump Supporters Cruise Through Kansas City, Calling For '4 More Years'
The party-like atmosphere at Kansas City's Liberty Memorial was hard to miss Saturday. Flags flapped in the breeze, rows upon rows of cars, trucks and motorcycles were decked out in red, white and blue, and people wore clothing emblazoned with pro-President Trump slogans.
With 38 days to go before Election Day, hundreds of Trump supporters gathered for this "truck rally" near the World War I museum before driving down Main Street to the Country Club Plaza.
There was no official count of attendees as of early Saturday evening, though some people in the crowd estimated it was more than 1,000 people.
Once Trump supporters made it to the Plaza, honking all the way and chanting "four more years," they were met by a small group of anti-Trump protesters, who yelled and gave cars the middle finger.
A few people on both sides of the political divide fought briefly before police stepped in. Seven people were arrested, Kansas City Police Department spokesperson Doaa El-Ashkar said in a news release, for disorderly conduct or careless driving.
During the final hour of the motorcade, Trump announced his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18. He chose 48-year-old conservative U.S. Circuit Court judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Republican politicians were quick to praise Trump's choice, with Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt — who will vote on the nomination — saying she had "made clear her commitment to interpreting and upholding the law and the Constitution as they are written."
Kansas U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, said Democrats are only want "liberal activist judges." And Missouri U.S. Rep. Sam Graves called Barrett a "wise choice."
John Thelem of Kansas City, Missouri, said he isn't a fan of the backlash over Republicans moving forward with a nominee.
"I think that the Democrats have shown that they will scorch the Earth in order to hurt Trump," he said, adding later, "that's why you see so many people out here is we're sick and tired of being called racist."
But Missouri Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told KCUR on Saturday that said the nomination was "a miscarriage of honesty." He also said he's still disappointed with the Republicans' about-face on holding a confirmation vote before the Nov. 3 election.
"We're going to have eventually a Democratic Senate. It could be in January, or maybe two years from now, but there will probably be some kind of response to this," Cleaver said. "And every response will be an escalation."
At the Plaza, 50-year-old Shonda Garrison said Republicans' decision to move forward is “disappointing but not surprising."
"It’s up to Democrats to hold the floor and up to us to vote him out," she said.
Brian Zern of Independence and his wife were on a date in Kansas City when they saw the rally — which he said was like a boat party in Branson — and decided to join. He said the turnout was "a lot more than I expected" and that he thinks "everybody else sees the same thing" he does with Trump.
"I just don't like the fact that it feels like the Democratic side is more government. It is, you know, a lot more regulations, more control," the 41-year-old said. "I think at least on the Trump side, it'd be a little less government and a little bit more for the people."
Looking at the turnout at the Liberty Memorial, Charlie Pogue of Olathe, Kansas, said he underestimated Kansas City.
"I'm here just to show the support, make sure people know there's a lot of Trump voters out here," the 54-year-old said.
His daughter, 17-year-old Julia, can't vote in November, but she wanted people to know young people need to be heard.
"... I know a lot of the time, people assume that the younger generation is mostly Democratic," she said. "But I think, especially being a woman, it's important for me to know that there's lots of people out there who are with me and just show my support."
Both father and daughter said the main issues for them this election were gun rights, abortion and the economy.
Marge Jones, 76, and two of her friends took the Amtrak from St. Louis to attend Saturday's rally. Jones said she backs Trump because he is "against immigration" and he'll "keep things as they are."
When it comes to the possibility of confirming Barrett for the Supreme Court, she said Trump was "not rushing it there."
"He's just replacing the seat, and that's in the Constitution that he's allowed to do that," she said.
KCUR reporter Elle Moxley contributed to this report.