Thousands attend Trump rally, dozens protest outside venue

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Joseph Vanwinkle traveled from Wayne, WV to Huntington to attend President Trump's Make America Great Again Rally. He was among hundreds who waited in the August heat outside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena for the president's second trip to the mountain state in the last two weeks.

"I think it shows that he hasn't forgotten about us and he still cares," Vanwinkle said.

P.D. Harris, of Kentucky, arrived at the arena around 10 a.m. Thursday.

He said, "We just came out today to support President Trump, his morals, and values and everything he stood for during the election."

Mary Morgan, of Lewisburg, WV, was excited to attend the rally.

She said, "I think that 8 years of Barack Obama ran our country in the ground and really proud Trump's doing what he can."

As the day progressed, hundreds of protesters moved to across the street from the arena, shouting things like "Black Lives Matter" and "Dump Trump." Katie Copley traveled from Logan County, a place she says historically thrived off the coal industry. She stood among the protesters holding a sign urging the president to bring more jobs to the state and new industries that can replace the coal industry.

"I think it's nice the president is coming to West Virginia. I think it's drawing a nice crowd and it can help raise awareness to things if people just push the issues," Copley said.

The arena, which fits approximately 9,000 people, was mostly filled with supporters with a few protesters escorted out.

"I feel like's he my friend and I love Donald Trump," Stephanie Baldwin, of Lewisburg, WV, said.

"The fact that we know he's in D.C. fighting for our values and what we believe in and I believe that President Trump has the silent majority of people out here and I hope he takes that back and sees that we're still in support of him," Harris said.

Emily Robinson, of Wayne, WV, wants Americans to come together instead of fighting among party lines.

"I think that as Americans we have to band together democratic or republican we have to realize the people we're threatening are also people so I mean it's not up to me to sway you or try to get become a Republican or support Trump or even like him and it's not their job to tell us that we're deplorable and we're awful people because we love and support him," she said.

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