The streets of Wildwood were filled with the sounds of patriotic tunes, calls for President Donald Trump’s re-election, anti-CNN demonstrators and cheers of “USA!, USA!” as an unprecedented crowd poured into town for the president’s campaign rally Tuesday night.
About a quarter of the seats at the Wildwood Convention Center were already filled by 4:30 p.m. by journalists and VIPs, but crowds formed in an immense queue stretching for four blocks in either direction of the building, hoping to make it inside. A media source within the campaign said 175,000 tickets were requested, prompting him to speculate that Trump may have more support in deep blue New Jersey than originally thought. There were more tickets requested for the Wildwood rally than for any others so far, officials said.
Security included the U.S. Secret Service, police departments from a multitude of nearby towns and New Jersey State Police, who kept watch over the convention center with four wheel drive SUVs and a helicopter overhead.
Some of those standing outside knew they would not get inside, but still came to show support.
“It’s a fake impeachment and I’m here to let the president know I support him,” said one man from Toms River who was standing about two blocks from the convention center. Surrounding him were dozens of traveling pro-Trump popup shops selling Make America Great Again merchandise, posters of Trump in the form of various comic book superheroes and tee-shirts excoriating “fake news” outlets.
The mood, however, was calm. There were no visible anti-Trump protests outside the convention center. One was planned in neighboring Cape May, however the Wildwood crowd was in a largely celebratory mood, more reminiscent of a parade or sporting event than a political rally.
Shorebeat is in Wildwood at the rally and will continue to post updates as the event gets underway.