President Donald Trump arrives to his Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Caption
President Donald Trump arrives to his Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Credit: Madeleine Cook/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

President Donald Trump visited Macon Friday evening as he campaigned across the southeast in an effort to shore up support less than three weeks before the election.

“Eighteen days from now, we’re going to win the state of Georgia, we’re going to win four more years,” he said, adding that in 2016 he “won Macon, Georgia,” although Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by more than 12,000 votes in Macon-Bibb County. “We’re winning in Florida, we’re winning here.”

Trump is trailing Democrat candidate Joe Biden in Georgia, according to the most recent polling data, and Democrats are narrowly leading in both Senate races as well.

Biden and his son Hunter were frequent targets of Trump, who referenced a New York Post article that published emails purportedly found on a laptop belonging to Hunter. The emails are the subject of an investigation by the FBI to determine their authenticity and if they are connected to Russian disinformation attempts.

Attendants of President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Caption
Attendants of President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Credit: Madeleine Cook/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

 “This massive scandal is being covered up by the media and big tech,” Trump said, adding that the Biden family is a “criminal enterprise.”

‘UNDER SIEGE’

Trump also said Second Amendment rights were “under siege” and praised “school choice” while claiming Democrats disdained Georgian values.

“The radical left is doing everything in their power to protect their chosen candidate, who has no clue where he is...” he said. “They have nothing but disdain for you and your values and the values of Georgia. They flood your communities with criminal aliens, drugs and crime. They complain about guns and they want to end your Second Amendment [rights], but they want protections for themselves. They oppose school choice while sending their families to the best private schools.”

Trump said his pandemic response saved “millions of lives” and that the coronavirus was a “plague sent to us by China.” He said that the FDA will approve a COVID-19 vaccine “soon” and that 100 million doses will be available before the end of the year. Trump said the vaccine has been delayed, to some extent, due to “political reasons.”

He frequently criticized the “fake news media” and called on his campaign team to move media members to the back of future rallies. He also criticized absentee ballots.

“They send ballots out by the millions... we say ‘Who is sending them, where are they going, who’s getting them, who’s signing them?’ What the hell are they doing?” Trump said. “They know better than you do it’s a big con job. So we have to be very, very careful with the ballots.”

Mike Kaplan, chairperson of the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections, said absentee voting is a safe and secure way for people who can’t leave their homes during the COVID-19 virus outbreak to vote, and he believes it improves voter turnout, he said.

SCOTUS NOMINATION

Trump said Joe Biden would “pack the Supreme court” with “radical left judges” to “shred the Second Amendment.”

“Last night, Biden refused to rule out court parking,” Trump said. “He’ll pack the court and protect terrorists and violent criminals. We don’t want people who will hurt our country. We don’t let people in from certain countries who are going to do bad things for us.”

Biden has said he’s “not a fan” of adding seats to the Supreme Court after refusing the directly answer questions about expanding the court for several weeks.

Thousands of Trump supporters from Georgia and around the country attended the event in Macon: security personnel said approximately 7,000 people were in the ticketed portion of the rally.

Gov. Brian Kemp, former Georgia governor and current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Sen. David Perdue, in a tight race for his seat with Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff, spoke before Trump.

Trump said he was backing both Rep. Doug Collins and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who are battling along with the Rev. Raphael Warnock for Georgia’s other Senate seat, adding that he “loved” them both. State Rep. Vernon Jones was seen crowdsurfing at the event.

“We’re up against the most dangerous and expensive agenda in modern history,” Kemp said. “We get strong borders, safe streets, law and order and liberty and justice for all. If we grow tired, if we get weary, we will literally lose everything in November. Despite what you have seen, what you have read. I know this. We are not going to let the radical left take the state of Georgia. We can’t stop at the Georgia state line.”

PERDUE MOCKS HARRIS

Sen. Perdue mocked vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, warning of a potential “takeover” from “Bernie [Sanders], Elizabeth [Warren] and Kah-mah-la or Kah-ma-la or Kamala-mala-mala, whatever...”

The comment received swift criticism on social media and from Perdue’s Democrat opponent, Ossoff. Perdue campaign communications director John Burke tweeted that Perdue “simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.”

Many attendees did not wear masks. Some said they weren’t worried about contracting COVID-19, and if they did get it they were confident in their ability to beat back the coronavirus.

“If I get it, I’ll go get treated for it and go along with my life,” said Ethel Hannon of Savannah, who said she voted for Trump in 2016. “I’ve always been energized by Trump. He’s an upbeat person, and he always does what he says he’s going to do. He’s really done a lot for the Black folks as far as employment.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported more than 1,700 new COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths Friday to bring the state’s totals up to 337,850 confirmed cases and 7,556 deaths. Bibb County remains in the White House coronavirus task force’s “Orange Zone” due to high infection rates and poor test positivity percentages.

President Donald Trump arrives to his Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Caption
President Donald Trump arrives to his Make America Great Again campaign rally cheer before his arrival at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon.
Credit: Madeleine Cook/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with the Macon Telegraph.