Just hours after his legal team wrapped up their impeachment defense arguments in Washington, President Donald Trump brought his “Keep America Great” rally to the New Jersey Wildwoods Convention Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, primarily in support of Representative Jeff Van Drew, who switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party last month after facing pressure for opposing the impeachment of the president. Trump touted his achievements, speaking of job creation, the war on terrorism, economic strength, and healthcare, before introducing Van Drew to speak.
Locals in the area reported a crowd forming two days prior to the event on Sunday, with thousands of people bringing sleeping bags and bundling up in the parking lot to queue up before the event. According to campaign managers, more than 100,000 tickets were requested for the event, but the convention center only holds 7,500. A large screen was setup in Fox Park across the street from the rally for those who were unable to enter.
A traditionally Democratic state, Trump’s visit is an unusual one on his campaign trail, which may explain the large turnout. But the visit may benefit him by enticing those who voted for Van Drew to also consider him for re-election. Van Drew was one of two House Democrats that voted against impeachment, citing the action as being inappropriate and that there were many other issues to address instead. He was faced with pressure to fall back into the party line, after which White House officials reached out to him to consider a party switch. At the rally, Trump cited the switch as the actions of “a courageous leader who left the Democrat Party because he has had enough of their extremism, enough of their socialism, enough of their vile hoaxes and scams.”