By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – The weekly Trump rallies along North Detroit Street in Warsaw are growing in size as numerous political leaders on Wednesday joined the festive atmosphere.
For several weeks, a group of supporters of President Donald Trump has been regularly standing along the road and drumming up support for his re-election by urging motorists to honk.
On Wednesday night, the event exceeded more than 100 supporters who lined both sides of North Detroit from Center to Main Streets and a little beyond in both directions.
The rallies have become boisterous as passing motorists blare their horns in support of Trump. Music, some of which patriotic, could be heard from one of the participant’s vehicles.
The rallies have been happening with regularity on Wednesdays and Sundays, and motorists, perhaps familiar with the schedule, are joining in by driving through with Trump flags and American flags.
Unlike past rallies, though, this one included numerous elected officials, candidates and GOP supporters.
Among those joining in on the flag-waving were State Sen. Ryan Mishler, State Rep. Dave Wolkins, State Rep. Curt Nisly, county commissioner Brad Jackson, county council candidate Kathy Groninger, county administrator Marsha McSherry, and state representative candidate Craig Snow.
Supporters on Wednesday say the turnout suggests Trump’s popularity in Kosciusko County has not faded in Trump’s first four years in office.
Four years ago, Wolkins, the longtime state lawmaker from Warsaw, told fellow Republicans to hold their nose and vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. He said Wednesday that his outlook has not changed as Trump faces former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3.
Wolkins said that while Trump can be “a jerk,” he said he “loves” his policies.
Wolkins said he thinks Biden’s vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, is too liberal to be president and worries that Biden will not remain in office long if he is elected.
“Biden won’t last very long in that job. There’s definitely something not right about him. I don’t mean to be nasty about him, but he gets too confused too often and that’s a sign all of us old people have to worry about,” Wolkins said.
Mishler, who is chairman of the State Senate Appropriations Committee and owns a funeral home business in Bremen, said his support for Trump has a lot to do with being a business owner.
“For me, it’s all about the economy,” Mishler said, pointing to how the economy expanded significantly before the pandemic.
“There might be issues you don’t like about Trump. I get it,” Mishler said. “I tell people who are upset: Are you better now than you were four years ago and they’ll say yes. I think that answers that.”
Mishler was asked about the impact of the pandemic.
“You can’t blame the government for COVID. I don’t know how we would have responded any differently,” he said.
Kay and Bruce Gilson, Winona Lake, decorated their antique 1951 Chevy pickup with Trump signs and flags and parked it right on the corner of Center and Detroit in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot. They brought their dog named Wrigley, who was wearing a red, white and blue bandana around the neck.
Kay Gilson said she feels good about the Trump presidency.
“I feel wonderful. I think he’s doing a great job. I just think the press is just really making his job horrible. I think if they just appreciated the things he’s done, it would be wonderful,” she said.