Trump confirms SIU visit Saturday: How to get tix

The president plans a late-afternoon campaign stop at Southern Illinois Airport

President Trump at the U.S. Steel Granite City Works this summer. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

President Trump at the U.S. Steel Granite City Works this summer. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

President Trump has confirmed he’ll make a campaign stop Saturday afternoon at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro.

Trump has added the campaign rally to his political website, with tickets available, limited to two for each cellphone number and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The rally is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Hangar 6 at the airport, located at 605 Flightline Road, Murphysboro. Doors are expected to open at 1:30 p.m.

It was reported Friday that Trump was considering the campaign appearance at Southern Illinois University, with one Carbondale City Council member immediately crafting a resolution against Trump’s “fascism” and labeling the president “unwelcome and persona non grata.” That resolution was withdrawn almost as quickly, but it indicates how citizens are divided on the president.

According to Carbondale’s Flyover Social Center, a community group, a City Council meeting set for Tuesday was canceled by Mayor Mike Henry over “credible threats of right-wing paramilitary violence.” In the days leading up to Trump’s visit over the weekend, the social center claimed to have received a business card from “Patriot Front, a fascist group that seeks to intimidate and terrorize women, people of color, immigrants and leftists.”

The community group isn’t backing down, however. While the City Council meeting has been canceled for Tuesday, Flyover is supporting “a citywide assembly to condemn Trump's proposed visit” in place of the meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Carbondale.

Trump’s appearance figures to divide the area, much as his visit to the U.S. Steel Granite City Works divided that Mississippi River town this summer.

Flyover Social Center considered it a triumph that Trump’s visit was moved away from SIU’s Carbondale campus to the airport in Murphysboro. But it also figured to minimize potential conflicts with a Halloween festival Mayor Henry has revived in a bid to provide a boost to the local economy.

The Southern Illinoisan reported that Trump’s rally was intended to boost U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in his bid for re-election against St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly. Bost is a Murphysboro resident.

In response, Kelly immediately cited a boil-water order issued for parts of Murphysboro last week after a levee failed, flooding farmland. He blamed that in part on the failure of Congress to pass a new Farm Bill and the president’s failure to advance a new infrastructure program.

On Monday, Kelly said that U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin would be in southern Illinois Tuesday campaigning for U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville in his battle for re-election against Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, a Springfield resident who has challenged him on support for the Affordable Care Act and protection for those with pre-existing conditions in health care.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a noted ‘60s civil-rights activist, was in East St. Louis last week campaigning with Kelly.