By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump was in Huntsville campaigning for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange,R-Ala.
As has become customary for Trump in Alabama he filled up yet another arena, this time the Von Braun Center. This is the fifth time that Trump campaigned in Alabama in the last 25 months, and he remains popular here. Will some of that off the chart enthusiasm rub off on Senator Strange, whose campaign has been struggling to connect with Alabama voters, despite millions of dollars spent on ads of all sorts.
President Trump said, “I love the people of this state.” Trump promised to send more defense jobs to the Huntsville area, praising the area for its role in missile defense, the new FBI center, and at NASA. “You are going to have so much money spent here.”
Trump called Strange “A really good guy” and a hard worker.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., joined the president and Strange. Trump said that Shelby was, “Respected and loved” in Washington.
“Luther is going to take over for a man you all love, Jeff Sessions,” Trump said. “He is doing a good job.”
The president also praised Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey saying she is “doing a great job.”
Trump thanked Alabama for taking in millions of evacuees from Florida during the recent Hurricane Irma. Trump said the Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the other areas hit by storms and floods would recover, and recover quickly.
Trump said that he has been on the phone with the president of Mexico following the earthquake there and that he has sent people and equipment there to help with the recovery.
Trump said that he is not the first to say “America first,” but he is the first President that actually means it.
“We are going to be like your football teams, we are going to win all the time,” Trump said.
Trump also talked about North Korea, which has been testing rockets and nuclear weapons over the past months.
“And we can not have mad men shooting rockets all over the place,” Trump said. “We are going to handle rocket man, and by the way rocket man should have been handled rocket man years ago.”
“I am going to handle it,” Trump said. “We really have no choice.”
Trump said that the North Korean leader is watching, “I guarantee you that he is watching us like he has never watched anybody before.” The president said that he would deal with North Korea peacefully if he could, but expressed skepticism that that will end peacefully.
Trump asked his supporters, “To send Luther Strange to the United States Senate.”
Trump said that he liked Strange because unlike other Republican Senators, Strange did not ask for anything in return for supporting the President’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump said that when he called Strange and asked for support he said, “You have my total support.”
“That is the coolest thing that has happened to me in six months,” Trump said.
Strange said that “Both are good men,” and that if Strange’s Republican opponent Roy Moore wins that he will come to Alabama, “And campaign like Hell” to elect Moore in the general election. Trump warned however that, “Roy has a very good chance of not winning the general election,” while, “Luther will definitely win.”
Trump acknowledged that some of his cabinet were supporting Moore, such as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson who endorsed Moore Friday, but joked that he might have to fire some of them on Monday and that he had already fired some.
The Strange campaign announced Friday that a planned Vice President Mike Pence appearance in Huntsville on Monday is canceled due to a scheduling conflict. As of press time, the Pence event in Birmingham for Strange is still scheduled.
According to a recent Fox News poll released on Thursday, Moore still leads Strange by eight percentage points.
The president acknowledged that Strange is down in the polls and that maybe he made a mistake by endorsing Strange.
“We have to be loyal in life,” Trump said. “There is something called loyalty, and I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.”
Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. You must vote at your assigned polling place and you must have a valid photo ID to participate in the election. If you do not have a valid photo ID you can obtain a free voter ID for free from your Board of Registrars office. If you voted in the Democratic party primary in August, it is illegal for you to vote on Tuesday due to a new state law. Alabama does not have same day voter registration, so if you are not already registered to vote, you won’t be able to participate on Tuesday.
Secretary of State John Merrill is predicting very low voter participation.
The winner of Tuesday’s Republican party primary will face Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the special general election on Dec. 12, 2017.