By Sam Dorman, Matt Finn
Published December 18, 2019
A growing crowd of Trump supporters are lining up outside in Michigan's bitterly cold weather ahead of an evening rally with President Trump that coincides with House Democrats voting to formally impeach him.
Footage from the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek showed throngs of attendees waiting for Trump's "Merry Christmas" rally on Wednesday, but Trump's supporters reportedly started camping out as early as Monday.
“We got here about 5:30 in the morning. We’re cold. We’re very, very cold but it’s worth the wait," one woman told Fox News on Wednesday.
"It’s very cold, very cold, but we got warmers. We got hand warmers and stuff like that and so it’s worth it. It’s so worth it," another attendee said.
Battle Creek city officials are reportedly expecting 10,000 attendees, which is more than the arena's capacity. The city's fire chief told a reporter that the permitted capacity is 5,400.
The Trump campaign told Fox News it expected the arena to be packed with supporters outside as well.
"I've seen a lot of rock concerts at Kellogg Arena. This is going to be the best show I've ever seen," one man said, according to Fox17.
Reporter Sarah Grimmer also posted footage a long line of Trump supporters who camped out overnight.
The rally is the same day that the House of Representatives debated articles of impeachment. For months, House Democrats have been pursuing an inquiry into whether Trump abused his power during a July call with Ukraine.
Trump blasted the impeachment push on Wednesday, tweeting that it as an "assault on America." Despite Washington's critical atmosphere, rally attendees told Fox News they were confident in the president and his place in the White House.
“He’s going to be stoked like the rest of us who have been here for many hours waiting for this -- we got your back, president," one woman said.
"We’re here to support him, sir," another woman said. "You know, we're behind him 100 percent. We know that the House might obviously have favor because they have the numbers but it’s not going anywhere in the Senate."
Democrats are expected to approve impeachment along partisan lines but Senate Republicans have already indicated they wouldn't vote to remove Trump from office.
One female attendee defend Trump's conduct on the call, saying that he was trying to "look out" for Americans.
“He did what he’s supposed to do as president and that’s look out for us and make sure that when we send money to other countries it’s going to the people that it needs to go to," she said.
Democrats have accused the president of trying to pressure Ukraine into helping him in the 2020 presidential election. Trump denied any wrongdoing, arguing that he was acting appropriately when he requested the eastern European nation investigate corruption concerns surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden.
Not everyone in Battle Creek is happy about Trump's visit. Protesters are expected to show up near the Sojourner Truth monument at 5 p.m. local time, according to Michigan Live. Protesters could number as high as 500 at the monument, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. The state's Democratic Party also reportedly planned to speak outside of the event.
Counterprotesters will also show up to defend the president. "I'll be damned if I let them ruin my president's visitation to our great city," Devon Warren, who's organizing a counterprotest, told the Battle Creek Enquirer.
"The original protesters are radical leftists that are further dividing the country, and I started the protest to deliver a good old fashioned American beat down," Warren said.