Lisa Michaels stood on a grassy rise Saturday afternoon, a “Make America Great Again” camouflage cap pressed to her ears, whipping up enthusiasm through a microphone and loud speaker.
“Do we love America?!” the 56-year-old die-hard supporter of President Donald Trump called out to crowd of some 200 like-minded supporters gathered at noon at 110th Street and Lamar Avenue.
“Yeah!” and “Yes!” they yelled back.
“Are we patriots?!” Michaels of Overland Park asked.
Those in the crowd, many waving American flags and wearing Trump T-shirts, caps and carrying supportive signs, shouted back in affirmation.
It was part of a “Spirit of America” rally and march— one of 60 or more said to be organized in cities nationwide — to show support for a president whose faithful followers believe he has been unfairly attacked since winning the presidency in November, and especially since taking office on Jan. 20.
Many in the crowd were keen to defend the president, whom they maintain has been continuously, purposefully and, in perhaps in a coordinated fashion, cast in a negative light by what they believe are left-leaning news and other liberal organizations.
“The president won, and I’m here to support him in his policies,” said Diana Mullin, 67, of Shawnee.
“I have never been to a rally, a political demonstration in my life, but its time to stand up and be counted.”
Mullin said she thinks that though the media has focused on demonstrations, such as the massive Women’s March following Trump’s inauguration, that those demonstrations do not reflect the 63 million individuals who voted for Trump.
“I think the George Soros-paid demonstrators are creating the impression around the world that everybody in America is against Donald Trump,” Mullins said. “And that is not true.”
George Soros is a billionaire investor and philanthropist and deep-pocket supporter of liberal causes and of Hillary Clinton. Since Trump’s election, conservatives and right-wing media have claimed that it is Soros — a Hungarian-born Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of World War II — whose money has been financing the protests that erupted across the nation. It is a claim that Soros and his foundation deny resolutely.
“I’m just here,” Mullins said of Trump, “to show him that we love him and support him and thank him for trying to save our country.”
Ty Glascock, 49, came from Saint Joseph to attend the rally. He carried a full-sized American flag.
“I just feel like he gets attacked so much from the left,” Glascock said the president, “that you just need to show people that he is our president, you know, and that he is supported by, like, half the country.
“Personally, me — I was miserable with the last president. And I’ve been happier and I know a lot of people who are, too, because he’s getting things done.”
On Friday, Trump once again made headlines with a thus-far unsubstantiated claim that his telephone at Trump Tower in New York had been tapped by President Barack Obama one month prior to the election.
Glascock and others at the rally said if Trump makes such a claim, they are willing to believe him. Their ardor for the president remained undiminished.
“Well … I do believe that — that it probably did happen,” Glascock said of the tapping. “What has been done before, like CNN, what they did with the questions in the debate and stuff, I believe something like that could happen. I am apt to believe President Trump.”
The reference to CNN regards the revelation that CNN contributor Donna Brazile, who had been interim director of the Democratic National Committee, left CNN in the midst of accusations that she leaked questions to friends of Hillary Clinton prior to a debate before the Democratic primary.
Greg Goode of Louisburg, Kan., a retired military officer who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas in 2016, said that he also is likely to take Trump at his word with the caveat that, given the realities of digital communication, it is possible for federal authorities to listen in on anyone’s telephone conversation almost anywhere.
“I believe your phone is tapped. His phone is tapped. Is Trump right?” said Goode who called himself a Trump supporter from “day one.” “I didn’t hear the conversation, but I would say that every phone in America is tapped.”
Cheryl Degler, 53, of Overland Park said she organized the rally in Overland Park to send a message.
“Donald Trump needs our support,” said Degler, who led the rally and march in American flag tights with a blue Donald Trump banner over her shoulders as a cape. “The media out there is just reporting the women’s marches and different things — the negative stuff. We need some positive stuff out there for our president.”
Degler then led the crowd on a march around the neighborhood and along the highway in a show of solidarity.
“There are 63 million people who voted for President Trump,” Degler said. “We’re out here. We’re a silent majority. Well, we’re coming out. We’re going to have our voices heard.”