Ringside at Trump’s victory speech with General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

‘We all know Mad Dog doesn’t play’

President-elect Donald Trump made a visit to the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville as part of his “Thank you” tour across the country.

Deplorables from all over the Carolinas showed up en masse to hear their champion speak and seem to openly embrace the nickname given to them by Trump’s nemesis (or frenemy?) Hillary Clinton.

The rally was almost cancelled due to weather conditions and Trump arrived well behind schedule, however he stated he made other arrangements to reach all of his supporters: “The drive from wherever we landed was longer than the flight,” he quipped.

A triumphant Trump gloated openly about his landslide electoral victory as well as touting his new cabinet picks. “I will assemble the greatest staff this White House has ever seen” exclaimed Trump after inviting his Secretary of Defense pick James “Mad Dog” Mattis to the stage. “We all know Mad Dog doesn’t play!” Trump added gleefully.

Trump and Mad Dog

Trump and Mad Dog

Like his last appearance here in August, the controversial Republican also talked up his military agenda and made several promises to the thousands of troops and veterans present. “We’re not going to have a depleted military anymore,” he said to raucous applause from the crowd. Trump also remarked that nearby Fort Bragg was the “spearhead” of the military world and that he plans to put an end to the military sequester.

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The atmosphere in the arena was certainly upbeat and celebratory; jubilant people of all ages from all across the state traveled to the Crown to join in on the fun. Jubilant white people that is, the minority (or is it majority now?) crowd didn’t make a strong showing. I’ve never seen as many Make America Great Hats in one place in my life.

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Behind the great mass of Trump/Pence signs in the audience was 39-year-old Tim Ferguson and his family. I asked him what he thought should be the first thing on the President-elect’s agenda when he is inaugurated: “Health care definitely man, I don’t even think you have to repeal Obamacare just fix it, right now it’s just not helping out Americans.”

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I also talked to another retired Trump supporter in attendance named Kurt Liamou who told me immigration was the most important issue to him. “I think everything will be OK as long as people do things properly and by the book as my family did,” he told me. His family moved here from Brazil when he was younger and have been citizens for over 40 years. “My father worked very hard to bring us here and while Trump has suggested questionable solutions, immigration is a serious issue to working Americans.”

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North Carolina played a pivotal role in Trump’s path to the White House. Trump successfully reverted the Tar Heel State back to red in November; even more interesting considering North Carolinians voted to oust incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory who just recently conceded the race to Roy Cooper. McCrory was present at the rally along with Congressman Robert Pettinger and of course Diamond and Silk, to remind us not to take Trump too seriously.

Photos by Lymar Lyons.

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North Carolina State University