US President Donald Trump knew where to go Saturday for home field advantage, finding comfort in the Deep South, with college football fans cheering the nation’s top two teams — and him.
His reception at the showdown between Louisiana State and Alabama contrasted with the scene at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, where was booed, and the mixed response to his appearance at a martial arts fight in New York.
Trump, sitting one tier above the field, waved as fans turned around to look up at the US president. He smiled, gave a thumbs-up a few times and threw a couple of fist bumps into the air as the Alabama fans waved red-and-white pompoms in response. First lady Melania Trump got an equally enthusiastic welcome.
There was little sign of political sentiment on campus, but plenty of bipartisan grumbling about the long lines to get in due to enhanced security. Trump left in the fourth quarter of the game, which Louisiana won 46-41.
The inflatable figure depicting a baby Donald Trump wearing a diaper, which has been seen at protests around the world, made an appearance in Tuscaloosa.
The organizer of the group that “adopted” the balloon for the event told police that a man with a knife cut a 2.4m gash in its back, deflating it.
Tuscaloosa police said in a statement that a 32-year-old local man was charged with criminal mischief in the incident.
A protester carried a sign that said “Roll Tide Impeach 45” and another held a sign saying she had sold her ticket and donated the money to the Alabama Democratic Party.
However, there were more pro-Trump signs. One woman wore an oversized red MAGA hat and carried a sign saying: “Make BAMA #1 Again.” There were flags emblazoned with “Trump 2020” and banners that read: “Keep America Great Trump 2020.”
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