WBUR News WBUR News

Support the news

'Trump Train' Of Supporters Crosses From Mass. To N.H., Praising President04:12
Download

Play
Lorraine Cambria waves cars to leave the Lexington Service Center on Route 95, as they merge with the rest of the caravan to drive to the rally in Londonderry, N. H. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Lorraine Cambria waves cars to leave the Lexington Service Center on Route 95, as they merge with the rest of the caravan to drive to the rally in Londonderry, N. H. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A caravan of ardent supporters of President Trump traversed from Plymouth, Mass., to Londonderry, New Hampshire, Saturday — a day after Trump disclosed that he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Easily over 100 cars drove in the so-called "Trump Train."

At a Lexington rest stop, one of the rallying points for the "Trump Train," there were big TRUMP 2020 flags flying from pickup trucks and flags with the president's face superimposed onto Rambo's body gallantly streaming from Jeeps.

In chats and interviews with WBUR, supporters dismissed Trump admitting to downplaying the severity of the pandemic and lauded the president for paying little in taxes.

A supporter holds a Trump campaign flag out the sunroof of a car as they leave the Lexington Service Center on Route 95 en route to the Trump Train rally Londonderry, NH. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A supporter holds a Trump campaign flag out the sunroof of a car as they leave the Lexington Service Center on Route 95 en route to the Trump Train rally Londonderry, NH. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Tom Mountain, one of the organizers, said the event was planned before Trump announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but that the diagnosis galvanized more people to join.

"We're here to say to our president: 'Mr. President, we're here for you. We support you in good times and bad. We wish you the best of health. We're with you right through November 3rd,'" Mountain, the regional director for the Massachusetts Trump Campaign, said.

While most of the well-wishers were white, there were a few non-white attendees as well. One car had a "Black Voices For Trump" bumper sticker. Another car had "Latinos con Trump" handwritten on its windows.

Grace Lincoln holds a flag and waves to passing driver on 95 at the Lexington Serve Center during the Trump Train caravan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Grace Lincoln holds a flag and waves to passing driver on 95 at the Lexington Serve Center during the Trump Train caravan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

"We have Chinese Americans, we have Latinas," Mountain said. "We have everybody who came from all over the state."

Mountain, who said he was not wearing a mask "because [the Trump Train] is an outdoor event" said he "was devastated" when he found out about the president's health.

But he and others in attendance Saturday had no doubt Trump would recover.

Ann Ragosta, of Milford, said, "It's going to be like a phoenix rising out of the ashes."

Why? "Because he's so strong," she said. "He's mentally strong. He's emotionally strong. He's spiritually strong. He's morally strong."

Like many people Saturday, Ragosta was not wearing a mask.

"If I had to put myself on a spectrum, I'm more anti-mask," she said. "I think it should be optional."

The president contracting COVID had no bearing on her anti-mask practices. Ragosta said she participated in the Trump Train because of her "devotion to the president."

"[He] has literally risked his health to get re-elected," she said. "That's how much he loves this country, how much he loves all Americans."

But not all Americans are feeling the love. Several polls after the first presidential debate of 2020 show the president trailing Joe Biden by a few points.

Catherine Johnson, who was on her way to Logan Airport from N. H., pulled into the Lexington rest stop out of curiosity. She's one of those Americans hoping Trump doesn't win re-election.

"I saw this on the other side of the highway and took the roundabout route, because I just had to witness it for myself," she said.

Johnson said she grew up Republican. Her dad, William R. Johnson, was the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party in the 1960s and a judge on the state's supreme court.

Saturday's "Trump Train" was disconcerting to her.

"I think I'm scared about what this implies," Johnson said, looking around the parking lot, surrounded by devoted Trump fans. "Because if he is able to rally his supporters like this with everything he's talking about — the fraudulent election, the coronavirus, the racial unrest — I feel like we're a tweet away from civil war. I really do."

Johnson said she's no fan of the president, but she is hoping that he'll pull through.

"I hope he has symptoms that are enough for him to have the wake up call America needs him to have to keep us safe," she said.

Three-year-old Lucas Wang holds a Trump banner at the Lexington Service Center on Route 95 during the Trump Train caravan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Three-year-old Lucas Wang holds a Trump banner at the Lexington Service Center on Route 95 during the Trump Train caravan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

But David Morin, of Connecticut, driving a red pickup with a "Catholics For Trump" sign on the back of the tailgate, said that in a Biden presidency, "God, country, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, that's all gonna be eliminated."

"[Democrats] are gonna take away everyone's guns away except for the criminals," he added.

He currently doesn't own any weapons but says he will "any day now."

Related:

Quincy Walters Twitter Reporter
Quincy Walters is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.

More…

Support the news