No Boos! Trump Receives Subdued Welcome at Alabama Football Game

Published November 10th, 2019 - 08:44 GMT
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the game between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP )
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the game between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP )
Donald Trump and Melania flew to Alabama to attend a football game between the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University Saturday .

President Donald Trump knew where to go Saturday for home field advantage, finding comfort in the Deep South with college football fans cheering the nation's top two teams - and him.

His reception at the showdown between Louisiana State and Alabama contrasted with the scene at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, where was booed, and the mixed response to his appearance at a martial arts fight in New York.

Trump, sitting one tier above the field, waved as fans turned around to look up at the president. He smiled, gave a thumbs-up a few times and threw a couple of fist bumps into the air as the Alabama fans waved red and white pompoms in response. First lady Melania Trump got an equally enthusiastic welcome.   

They flew in to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to attend the University of Alabama v. Louisiana State University football game Saturday afternoon. 

Videos posted on social media showed people applauding and cheering the Trumps.

A careful listen, however, showed that not all the football fans in the stadium were also Trump supporters, as some strident booing could also be heard in the background of the video.  

Newsweek reported that Trump's introduction was planned to coincide with the game's first timeout. With no game play going on, people had already turned to look at the luxury box where the Trumps were seated. 

Trump was said to have quickly stood from his seat and walked to the front railing with Melania so that he could wave to spectators, while his image was shown on the stadium's four video screens, leading to what was described as a 'prolonged' applause. 

In addition to applause, a large portion of the crowd was said to have given Trump a standing ovation, according to TMZ.   

There was little sign of political sentiment on campus but plenty of bipartisan grumbling about the long lines to get in due to enhanced security. Trump left in the fourth quarter of the game, which LSU won 46-41. 

The inflatable figure depicting a baby Donald Trump wearing a diaper, which has been seen at protests around the world, made an appearance in Tuscaloosa. The organizer of the group that 'adopted' the balloon for the event told police a man with a knife cut an 8-foot-long gash in its back, deflating it. Tuscaloosa police said in a statement that Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, 32, was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief.

He posted a Facebook video before the incident saying he was 'going down here to make a scene...y’all watch the news....I’m shaking I’m so mad right now. I’m fixin’ to pop this balloon. Stay tuned. It should be interesting'.

A protester carried a sign that said 'Roll Tide Impeach 45' and another held a sign saying she had sold her ticket and donated the money to the Alabama Democratic Party.

But there were more pro-Trump signs. One woman wore an oversized red MAGA hat and carried a sign saying: 'Make BAMA #1 Again.' There were flags emblazoned with 'Trump 2020' and banners that read: 'Keep America Great Trump 2020.' 

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On November 5, a University of Alabama student revealed that the school's Student Government Association had sent out an email warning student organizations against engaging 'disruptive behavior' at the game. 

The email was interpreted by some as being a warning against booing or protesting Trump's appearance. 

The student government later issued a clarification noting that it 'strongly affirms its belief in free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions,' according to a USA Today report

The statement also decried the 'erroneously assigned a political context to a message meant only to remind students about heightened security and the consequences of altercations or other behaviors unbecoming of a University of Alabama student.'

Trump's treatment in Alabama stood in stark contrast to his other two big sports experiences. 

At Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, DC on October 28, Trump was met with boos and chants of 'Lock him up.' 

Trump was also booed while he attended the UFC fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 2.   

Trump won the 2016 election in Alabama with 62.1 per cent of the vote. 

Following the game, a reporter at conservative outlet Breitbart tweeted a clip of Trump receiving applause and cheers at the football game. 

Trump was quick to tweet: 'But the Fake News will never show this. Thank you!'

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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