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Stage is set for Trump: – Here’s what to expect Saturday in Wellington


WELLINGTON — With windows and bumpers proclaiming “Trump won” and “Biden sucks,” vehicles from all over the United States were parked Friday afternoon at the Lorain County Fairgrounds.They came from near and far — from New York to California, Michigan to Tennessee, Pennsylvania to Indiana — for the chance to see former President Donald Trump.

Rain fell over the fairgrounds’ western parking lot as workers finished setting up tents, stage and a screen for a “Save America” rally that will be held this evening.

It will mark the first time Trump has delivered remarks at a public rally since his Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” event, after which supporters marched on the U.S. Capitol and breached its defenses.

More than 500 people have been arrested so far in connection with the deadly violence, according to the Department of Justice. Among them are Clifford Mackrell and Shane Jenkins, who according to an FBI database of suspects were arrested in Wellington.

What to expect

The forecast calls for possible thunderstorms to sweep through Wellington early in the day, probably giving way to cloudy skies before the rally gates open at 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Wind could be more of a concern by the time Trump and other prominent Republicans take the stage — it’s expected to be breezy with gusts up to 29 mph.

Trump “has an important message” for people who feel their concerns aren’t being heard, said Jennifer Wasilk, chair of the Lorain County Republican Party Central Committee and president of Amherst City Council.

“I think a lot of people feel they’ve been ignored, and that is why he is so attractive to them,” she said.

Exactly what is the 45th president’s message? The Save America PAC said the rally will be “President Trump’s first of many appearances in support of candidates and causes that further the MAGA agenda and accomplishments of President Trump’s administration.”

First to gain his seal of approval will be Max Miller, who is running for Ohio’s 16th Congressional District seat in 2022. Wellington is in Ohio’s 7th Congressional District.

Miller is challenging GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Cleveland native who was elected in 2019. Now he’s in Trump’s crosshairs after siding with Democrats in the vote to impeach Trump following the Capitol riot.

“The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution,” Gonzalez said, explaining his vote.

He and nine other Republicans who voted to impeach were censured in May by the GOP’s central committee.

“Donald Trump’s upcoming visit is sure to continue the division we’ve seen and increase the level of vitriol in the already nasty Republican Senate primary,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Matt Keyes in a statement issued Friday. “As the Republicans fight among themselves, it will be another reminder to voters why they can’t be trusted to represent Ohioans’ interests in the Senate.”

Added security

Wellington police have announced several restrictions that will be in place today.

Starting at 10 a.m., no parking will be allowed on Magyar Street, which has been designated as an emergency evacuation route for events at the fairgrounds. It can also used by emergency vehicles.

The parking lot at and lands around Wellington’s reservoir are also closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. So is the fairgrounds perimeter road from Magyar Street.

Anyone walking into the event will have to use Fairgrounds Road, police said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has erected signs to guide people to the event on state routes around Wellington. The only way vehicles can enter the fairgrounds will be Pitts Road.

“The village of Wellington has worked with agencies throughout Lorain County and will have a heavy law enforcement presence throughout the event,” a release from Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield said. “Please do not be alarmed by the presence of so many officers; they are here to ensure the safety of the village, residents and our friends who are in town.”

Mayor Hans Schneider said Wellington residents, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, have always been able to put aside differences and work together for the greater good.

“This rally is an opportunity to show everyone, both near and far, that people can not only coexist but can reach across the gap to work together to accomplish things and show respect to those who we may disagree with on an issue or two or several,” he said. “That is how we have always done it and that is how we will continue to do it here in Wellington.”