Like many of his constituents at Monday’s rally in Johnson City, Congressman Phil Roe said he will long remember President Donald Trump’s trip to northeast Tennessee.
“It was an honor to have the president in our small community,” he said during a visit to Greeneville for the town’s dedication of a new fire truck Tuesday.
Roe said he started his day in Washington, D.C., where he unexpectedly attended an event in the White House Rose Garden. He then accompanied President Donald Trump on Air Force One en route to the Tri-Cities for a campaign-style rally and fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.
Riding in the presidential motorcade to the rally in Freedom Hall, Roe passed crowds of people lining the route.
“It looked a lot like a Fourth of July parade,” he said. “It is an exciting thing to see a president. I was in my 40s before I saw a president in person.”
Once he arrived at Johnson City, Roe met his wife and family, including his son, who had driven from Nashville to see his father speak prior to Trump.
“It is not every day that you get to speak in the same event as the president,” he said. “It was an honor to get to speak with the president in my hometown.”
While he has seen hundreds of events inside Freedom Hall – from basketball games, to Elvis, Elton John and a rodeo – Roe said he never expected to be part of an event there featuring the nation’s top executive.
Roe was in his Washington office Monday morning working on his comments for the rally when he received an unexpected call from the White House, inviting him to attend an announcement in the Rose Garden, where Trump announced a new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“There I got to see Vice President (Mike) Pence, a friend of mine for years, as well as the president,” he said.
Later in the afternoon, Roe traveled to Andrews Air Force Base, where he boarded Air Force One to fly down to the Tri-Cities with Trump. It was then he discovered that two members of the flight crew are from northeast Tennessee.
The co-pilot is from Elizabethton and the steward who was serving in his section is a staff sergeant in the Air Force from Kingsport, he said.
During the flight, Roe, Blackburn and others visited Trump in his office aboard the plane.
“I told the president that he was ‘going to a place where people like you a lot,'” he said.
Roe rode with the president in his limousine as part of the motorcade and learned that 92,000 tickets had been requested for the event – the most requests for one of the president’s rallies. Freedom Hall’s seating capacity is 8,500.
Throughout the day, Roe said he was getting text messages about what was happening at Freedom Hall from a former intern who brought his grandfather from Galax, Virginia, to attend the event. They arrived at the venue early in the morning.
The crowd did come early and some people camped overnight to make sure they received a seat, he said.
“The crowd was amazing,” Roe concluded. “It was an exciting day.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.