Thursday, May 10, 2018, was a busy day for President Trump.

It began in the early hours with the welcome home to three Americans who had been detained in North Korea.

It ended with a rally in Elkhart, Indiana, where Trump set the tone for the 2018 mid-term elections.

At the rally, Trump quipped about the long day:

“At 2.a.m. early this morning and by the way I got back to the White House at 4:30 a.m. and somebody said, ‘Oh that’s ok you can just cancel Indiana tonight.’ I said, you just don’t know the people of Indiana. I don’t have the courage to cancel,” he added.

The COO of Donald J. Trump for President was there:

Elkhart is near South Bend, which is home to the University of Notre Dame. The small city is best known for the production of RVs (recreational vehicles). Elkhart still has a small-town look, including a traditional Main Street.

It was a good location for a Trump rally, as the greater South Bend area is known as Michiana, encompassing this part of northern Indiana and the southwestern border with Michigan. It is also fairly close (by American standards) to Chicago. Elkhart is readily accessible by rail, which further added to its appeal.

Incidentally, Obama also liked Elkhart:

While Michiana is filled with Democrat voters, 7,000 Trump fans were inside North Side Middle School’s auditorium for the rally, with 10,000 listening to proceedings outdoors.

You can get a full perspective of the packed venue here. To be one of the lucky ones inside a Trump rally, you need to get there early, even 24 hours in advance. Heaven only knows where everyone parked. Yet, people were patient, and some probably made new friends. Meanwhile, the media were setting up their equipment inside the auditorium.

Traffic warnings and road closures made the news. Obama had been in South Bend twice before during his tenure (2009 and 2016), so locals are used to presidential disruption. Protesters were also present.

Regardless of political preference, some local residents made sure they could get a view of the airport when Trump arrived. Local businesses also put up displays welcoming the president; Democrat or Republican, it is ‘an honour’.

Local lawmakers either attended or spoke at the rally.

Trump arrived at South Bend International Airport shortly after 6 p.m.

The NBC affiliate, located at Notre Dame, posted a video of Air Force One:

Meanwhile, back in Elkhart, one woman was delighted that CNN’s Jim Acosta took a photo of her:

Not everyone was so enthusiastic about CNN, however:

The crowd was revved.

Vice President Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, attended. He and his wife Karen flew in on Air Force Two:

The crowd gave him a rousing ovation:

He addressed the audience:

He pointed to the jobs success in Elkhart:

And introduced the president:

Before state office holders and Pence spoke, the rally, which started at 7 p.m., began in the traditional way:

Trump began speaking at 7:29 p.m.

Highlights follow. Each tweet linked below has a video clip.

The president acknowledged the crowd:

He spoke about the world’s renewed respect for the United States:

.: “We are unlocking new opportunities for prosperity and for peace. All of these changes are happening because America is being respected again.”

He discussed North Korea:

.: “On June 12th, in Singapore, I’ll be meeting with Kim Jong Un to pursue a future of peace and security for the world.”

Weakness:

.: “You know what gets you into nuclear wars and you know what gets you into other wars? Weakness.”

Jobs:

Trump: “Here at home. The great news keeps rolling in. 3.3 million new jobs since the election.”

Record employment for blacks:

.: “African American unemployment has reached the lowest level in the history of our country.”

Strong borders:

.: “We believe that a strong nation must have strong borders.”

Patriotism:

.: “We have pride in our history and respect for our great American flag.”

Fair trade:

.: “We want trade deals that are fair and, by the way, reciprocal.”

The new embassy in Jerusalem, which opened on Monday, May 14:

.: “Next week we will finally open the American Embassy in Jerusalem.”

And Iran:

.: “We’re putting the harshest, strongest, most stringent sanctions on Iran.”

He also criticised Joe Donnelly, the state’s Democrat senator for that district who refused to vote for the tax cut and Obamacare repeal.

Trump invited the Republican candidate for Senate onto the platform:

CBS affiliate WSBT had a good summary of the rally speeches, including soundbites from Mike Braun’s:

… he said “one of the neatest experiences of my life is spending 30 minutes riding with the president. You wouldn’t believe the advice you get.”

But also told the crowd he’s a businessman and an outsider just like the President — who he calls “his inspiration.”

“When I started this journey, almost a year ago, I traveled the states, spent a lot of time in the north. Wanted to make sure this was going to end up with a good result,” said Braun. “Wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t inspired by what this man did in 2016. He cleared the field systematically and really that was the inspiration for doing it.”

Braun said he will “retire Joe Donnelly.”

Local reporter Taurean Small from ABC57 summarised Trump’s talking points well:

The rally ended at 8:30 p.m.:

Here is RSBN’s video of the rally:

Their reporters were happy (The Conservative Treehouse has more videos from them):

Then it was time for President Trump to return to Washington.

This was the motorcade on the way back to the airport:

And finally, as Mike and Karen Pence headed downstate to Indianapolis:

He tweeted Fox News’s video of his hour-long speech along with his thanks for the crowd’s enthusiasm:

Trump is off and running for MAGA candidates this year. As the year progresses, he will have even more great news to report.

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