Supporters of President Donald Trump are slated to gather this weekend in nearly 50 cities across the country to show their support at events dubbed March4Trump. However, in the heart of Appalachia — and in a state that was dubbed “Trump Nation” — there are no marches scheduled. Supporters remain enthusiastic about the new administration and see such events as a distraction from what they see as progress being made.
Rallies are scheduled for Saturday, March 4, in major and mid-sized cities in every region of the country. While marches are scheduled in some places across Appalachia (Hoover, Alabama; Erie, Pennsylvania; Greer, South Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee) as of Friday, there are no events listed for West Virginia — where Trump won handedly, taking more than 68 percent of the vote in November.
March4Trump spokesman Peter Boykin, who also leads a group called Gays4Trump, said in an email statement that the goal of this weekend’s events is to give Trump supporters an opportunity to peacefully protest “fake news” and those in opposition to the president in an exercise of the First Amendment. Boykin and organizers are using Twitter, phone calls, Facebook groups and other ways to coordinate between the states, but otherwise leaders of local events are on their own.
“We did get an inquiry from the White House a day before Trump tweeted about ‘Americans should do rallies’, and we have some local GOP helping with some of the rallies,” he said.
But, he said, the lack of an event in West Virginia isn’t an intentional omission or oversight.
“We only had about half a month to put it together. Frankly, it may have just missed out at having an event,” he said. “A lot of the times, most of these events are held in some places where we really need to show our support against the local people, as opposed to preaching to the choir.”
Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally. It would be the biggest of them all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
Trump supporters in West Virginia say that a lack of a local event this weekend doesn’t take away from the president’s big win here back in November. For some, a sense of enthusiasm still resonates.
“There is no state in this country that supports the president more than West Virginia. In this state, every day is a celebration of Donald Trump and his administration,” said Mike Stuart, who chaired Trump’s campaign in the state.
Stuart said he has kept his eyes on Trump’s daily governance since the election, rather than paying attention to gatherings in support of, or opposition to, the new administration — so much so that he hadn’t heard about the March4Trump events scheduled for Saturday.
“Whether or not there is a march or not a march, I think this is a state that stands strongly behind the president,” he said, noting that West Virginia was only one of two states where Trump carried all counties. The other state was Oklahoma.
West Virginia also gave Trump the largest margin of victory of any state and is the state with the second largest percentage of the vote for any presidential candidate in the 2016 general election.
Stuart said he believes many West Virginians will travel this weekend to other nearby cities such as Washington, D.C., to show their support for the president. But there are also those who feel like a march is unnecessary — even distracting and bothersome.
Karen McCoy, who works at Marlinton Middle School in Pocahontas County and also serves as a vice chair of the state Republican Executive Committee, called the weekend’s events “senseless.”
“I love Donald Trump, I’ve been behind him from day one. There is no one in West Virginia that loves him more than I do,” McCoy said.
“He is already there. It’s just like a protest. A protest just gets people upset because they aren’t facing reality. We all know what it is, but what good does a march in support [of President Trump] do? So, I’m against the march because it doesn’t prove a thing,” she added.
A Facebook event dubbed the “West Virginia MAGA March” in support of Trump is slated for March 25 at the State Capitol Building in Charleston. Officials with the state Republican Party said they have not been contacted by event organizers and currently have no involvement.