President Trump speaks to crowd of 23,000+ at Gastonia, N.C. rally

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 2:12 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - President Donald Trump visited Gastonia Wednesday for a campaign rally that that was attended by more than 23,000 people.

The president delivered remarks at a Make America Great Again Rally on Oct. 21. The event happened at Gastonia Municipal Airport on Gaston Day Road. Doors opened at 4 p.m. and the event started at 7 p.m.

Watch the event below:


WATCH LIVE | TRUMP SPEAKS IN GASTONIA: President Donald Trump speaks at campaign rally in Gastonia.

Posted by WBTV News on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

On Monday, Gaston County health officials said they had not received formal plans and specifics from the Trump campaign about the planned rally.

The health department says it recommended people in large gatherings to social distance and wear face coverings.

Jon Boyd, with the Gaston Municipal Airport, told WBTV on Tuesday they were expecting between 15,000 and 30,000 attendees at the rally. There were 800 seats, while the rest of attendees stood.

On Thursday, those numbers were confirmed. Officials say at least 23,000 people attended the event.

“I wasn’t here when the call came in but I was quickly notified that they were doing the presidential rally here and I jokingly thought it was a hoax,” Boyd told WBTV.

Patrick Kiely is one of the tens of thousands of people turning out for the event.

“You register and they send you a digital ticket but I’ve been one of these before they don’t even collect tickets it’s first come first serve," Kiely said.

According to a Trump campaign spokesperson, “Every attendee has their temperature checked, is provided a mask they’re instructed to wear, and has access to plenty of hand sanitizer. We also have signs at our events instructing attendees to wear their masks.”

“I know they hand them out,” Kiely said. "It’s up to people to wear them or not and that’s the way it should be.

Boyd says he hopes the Trump team sticks to these protocols.

“With the current covid growth it’s better to be on the safe side," he said.

If the need arises, Gaston County spokesperson Adam Gaub says their health department is prepared to help the White House.

“In terms of contract tracing, we will take whatever role we need to take to keep everyone safe," he said.

Senator Kamala Harris was also in North Carolina Wednesday. She spoke to a crowd in Charlotte at roughly the same time Trump was addressing his crowd in Gastonia.

President Trump just held a rally at the Pitt-Greenville Airport in Greenville, N.C. this past Thursday.

The economy was one of many accomplishments the president reminded his supporters about saying, “My plan is already crushing the virus, look at our numbers. Look at our numbers.”

The president downplayed the virus while criticizing opponent Joe Biden.

Trump said, “We’re seeing the most far-left agenda ever put forward by a presidential nominee.”

President Trump lands in Greenville ahead of rally

PRESIDENT TRUMP IN NC: President Donald Trump has touched down aboard Air Force One ahead of a Make America Great Again rally in Greenville » Watch live 👇

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, October 15, 2020

Several weeks before visiting Greenville, Trump was in Charlotte for a rally at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. This was his 14th visit to N.C.

While in the Queen City, the president signed an Executive Order aimed at helping Americans with pre-existing conditions with their healthcare coverage, among other things.

The order, according to the White House, is first attempt in American history to make it the policy of the United States to protect those with pre-existing conditions as part of the president’s newly announced America First Healthcare Plan.

This is especially important, officials say, if the Affordable Care Act is struck down. The president has repeatedly vowed to replace the ACA with a “much better plan.”

The other executive order the president signed while in Charlotte addressed protection from surprise medical billing.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved. WITN contributed to this report.