SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- People lined sidewalks and streets with a public display of both viewpoints today; those who support President Trump, and those who oppose him. He spoke about tax reform at a private event in Springfield Wednesday.
Trump was in and out of town in just a couple hours. His motorcade made its way down Kearney Street, where supporters anxiously stood huddled as close to the road as police would let them.
Sylvia Sanchez's 2nd grade son and his big brother got to cut class in hopes of seeing in person what they won't learn from a lesson plan. The little boy said, "I got really happy and excited because it was cool! I haven’t seen that many police together before."
The mother explained, "I took off work and got my kids out of school because it is a lifetime experience to come and see the President of the United States."
Hundreds of people who support Trump lined Springfield side streets in hopes he would see their signs and banners. Supporter Sylvia Bader held a white poster marked with the words "Thank You President Trump" in black marker. She said, "I’m thanking him for the things he’s done since he’s become president and the things that he promised to do."
The Carthage woman said she appreciates that Trump's fans were in a different spot from those who aren't crazy about the Commander in Chief. "I think that’s the only thing they can do with the things that have gone on. They have to think of everybody’s safety," said Bader.
Protestor Gene Davison said, "We want to have a peaceful protest and show that we can be in opposition to the administration without getting into shouting matches." He and other protestors lined a two-block stretch about two miles away from the venue where Trump spoke. Davison said the distance made it easy to safely exercise his First Amendment right. He described his hometown: "Springfield is a very conservative part of the state, but there are a lot of people that believe as we do and they’ll be out here today."
70-year-old Paul Phariss said he demonstrated against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and is using the same right to free speech today. "I’m looking at my kids and grandkids and saying this is world that is being opened up for them, and I can’t be quiet."
The president's speech was not open to the public. Organizational leaders from both sides explained that people from each group met with Springfield city members and law enforcement weeks in advance of Wednesday's event to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible.