10 November 2019 00:36
– Nearly two weeks after getting roundly booed at a World Series game in Washington D.C., President Donald J. Trump was cheered loudly at the biggest college football game of the regular season. Less than three minutes into the game between No. 3 Alabama and No. 2 LSU, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were shown on the big screen scoreboard at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Trump arrived at Bryant-Denny Stadium close to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, sitting in a suite above the 35-yard line. Trump played to the home crowd in No. 2 LSU's game at No. 3 Alabama, wearing red and blue tie that Alabama fans would identify with as close to the Crimson Tide's colors.
Alabama officials introduced him at the first break in the game, prompting the round of cheers. The positive greeting fits with how Alabama votes politically, as Trump has a 59 percent approval in the state, compared to 37 percent of residents who do not approve. U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave to the crowd during a game between LSU and Alabama (Reuters) Story continues Air Force One landed about an hour before the scheduled 2:42 p.m. kickoff and Trump exited the plane at 1:55 p.m. His arrival and exit was covered on local television here, underscoring the importance for the area. As Trump headed over to the sold-out stadium of more than 101,000 fans, the crowd delighted in a sing-song version of "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Trump's arrival at Bryant-Denny Stadium marks his third appearance at a major sporting event in the past two weeks.
He was roundly booed at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington D.C. on Oct. 29. A week ago, he attended a UFC event at Madison Square Garden and was greeted with mixed reaction from the crowd in New York City. This marks the third college football game that Trump has attended during his time in office. He's attended two of the past three Army-Navy games, but one of those came as the President-elect in December of 2016. He attended the Georgia-Alabama College Football Playoff title game in January of 2018, a visit more remembered for the logistical headaches than the reaction of the crowd. At Tuscaloosa National Airport, where hundreds of big-money fans flowed in for gameday, the signs of Trump's impending arrival were everywhere. From the fraternity houses to the tailgate tent row lining the quad near the "ESPN GameDay" set, there were bountiful pro-Trump sign. On the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house across the street from the stadium, a giant blue TRUMP 2020 sign greeted the thousands of fans flowing to the stadium. TRUMP 2020 sign hanging on the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity across from Bryant-Denny stadium. Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, who is running for a Republican Senate seat here, planned to spend the day campaigning on campus at Alabama. "I think it's good," Tuberville said earlier in the week of Trump's arrival. "I think it's good that you have presidents going to sporting events. Trump coming here for a warm round of applause is the suspense equivalent of Alabama scheduling New Mexico State to open the season. "I think he's still extremely popular here," said Howell Raines, the former executive editor of The New York Times, who hails from Alabama, in a phone interview. In a phone interview on Friday, Raines projected a friendly reception for Trump for a handful of reasons. According to Alabama officials, this marked the first time a sitting president attended a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. U.S. 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. 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. 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. Presidents have long used sporting events to woo support, but these events also are a venue for fans to express their own political leanings. That greeting was warmer than the reception Trump received at the World Series at Nationals Park, when he was roundly booed and became the target of a "Lock him up!" chant. In Alabama, where he won 63 per cent of the vote in 2016, the president generated some heat. "Regardless of your political views, that's pretty cool, having the president at the game," said LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. For Trump, the game is both football and politics. The game came two days after Trump's former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced he is going to run again for his old Senate seat from Alabama. Sessions was the first senator to back Trump's upstart campaign and worked to champion conservative causes as attorney general, but the president has never forgiven Sessions for withdrawing from overseeing the Russia investigation led by former special counsel Robert Mueller. At the game, Trump sat in a box owned by Jim Wilson, a real estate businessman from Alabama. Trump follows a long line of presidents who have attended college football games: — President William Howard Taft attended the LSU-Sewanee game in October 1909 in New Orleans. Kennedy went to the Alabama-Oklahoma game on New Year's Day in 1963 in Miami. Story continues below advertisement