‘This movement doesn’t just go away’: Trump supporters beaten but defiant

Even if Donald Trump’s White House journey is almost over, the ‘Trump Train’ is far from running out of steam.

The president talks of his support representing a movement unlike anything this country has ever seen before.

And, on a chilly midweek morning, in small-town Texas, the numbers who turned out to roar their support for the soon-to-ex-president was nothing short of staggering.

The caravan of cars and pick-ups, festooned with flags and honking their horns, streaming through the streets of McAllen was a boisterous show of allegiance.

Supporters of U.S President Donald Trump wait for his arrival near Miller International airport on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in McAllen, Texas.
Image:Supporters of Donald Trump wait for his arrival near Miller International airport in McAllen, Texas

They represented the full spectrum of Trump fans that we have seen across America for four years, from the hardcore loyalists, blind to any failings, to the moderates who simply feel he has kept his promises in office.

They also represented a truth America needs to reckon with: they are not going away.

Even those who now accept, grudgingly, that Trump lost the election still see a fight to be had, to preserve the momentum of a president who they see as re-shaping the country.

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‘The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me’

Robert de los Santos came with his wife and two children to see Trump arrive in McAllen. When the president visited two years ago, Robert was on the tarmac to snap a close-up picture.

“He will still be an influence because we want politicians who will follow what he started,” Robert said.

It might be that it’s another candidate, more palatable to the mainstream than Trump, Robert said, that could adopt his agenda and seize the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election. That would be fine with him.

“This movement doesn’t just go away,” said Robert’s neighbour Victoria Oates. “We accept, dragging our feet, that he lost but all these people feel just as strongly as they ever have.”

Supporters of U.S President Donald Trump wait for his arrival near Miller International airport on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in McAllen, Texas.
Image:Trump’s border wall is a popular policy in McAllen, Texas

As Trump’s motorcade rushed past, the two families jumped from their pink golf buggies to wave and cheer. A lone Joe Biden supporter chanted that the president had “blood on his hands” for last week’s riots.

Four hours of mayhem: how the riots unfolded

Four hours of mayhem: how the riots unfolded

Every one of the 75 million people who voted for Trump of course had their own reasons.

For example, in this part of Texas his controversial border wall is extremely popular with many Republicans who will tell you that they live with the consequences of what they call an immigration crisis.

Rightly or wrongly, it is why they believe in Trump.

For others it will be tax cuts or the appointment of judges or cutting business regulation, the Trump accomplishments touted by the White House. There is plenty that still energises Trump voters to turn out and express their strong support.

Their president will be gone next week but they are determined to remain a fixture of American political life.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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