Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star Senior Reporter Laura Baigert to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Baigert gave a first-hand account of the Trump rally and fellow media attitudes in Tulsa this past Saturday. She described the event as being high energy and described Trump’s enthusiasm as that of someone being reunited with their family.
Leahy: We are joined now by our prolific and spectacular senior political reporter who was live on the ground in Tulsa for President Trump’s rally. She filed five stories from Tulsa during the rally. Count them. And the first story, Enthusiasm for President Trump in America Still Strong in Tulsa on Eve of Rally. American Ingenuity on Display at Trump Rally in Tulsa with TrueHero Extreme Coverage Face Shields.
Hours Before Trump Rally Crowd Swells to Thousands. President Trump Delivers High Energy Speech to Enthusiastic Supporters in Tulsa. Carol Swain and Herman Cain Say Support For Trump is Growing. We welcome to our microphones, the prolific, productive Laura Baigert.
Baigert: Good morning Michael. How are you? I forgot I’d written five. (Chuckles)
Leahy: As far as I can tell Laura you were the only Nashville media reporter who was there on the ground in Tulsa for this rally.
Baigert: That wouldn’t surprise me. A lot of people were surprised when I told them we were here from Nashville and had come that far. Yes. It would not surprise me. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Give us your overall impressions about the rally itself. There is a bunch of spin going on in the media. You were there. Tell us about your impressions.
Baigert: I guess my first impression is the spin that’s going on. I’m shocked by every headline I keep reading from the media. I guess my first impression is the commitment of people and the enthusiasm for President Trump who got there on Thursday around midnight and seeing people out on the street.
There were probably a hundred or so were then camped out on the side of the road and on the sidewalk peacefully assembled there like one big happy family. We went and checked on the same people that were at the beginning of the line every half-day or so and the commitment to being there and knowing, I think this whole thing about a million tickets being vouched for making people feel like they had to hurry up and get there. Some of these people have never been to a rally before. Some hadn’t even voted for Trump in 2016.
Leahy: Really? Gee, I didn’t see that story anywhere in the mainstream media. (Laughs)
Baigert: People from all over the country were there. Someone from Boston who was a native Tulsan flew in. Somebody in San Diego who wasn’t even registered to vote in 2016 was there. Somebody came all the way from Oregon and drove six days to see the country but got their early enough to camp out for days in line.
The crowd just kept growing. Every four or five, six hours you’d walk by and more people were there camping out. There were two home school families from northwest Arkansas who had driven over. It was just amazing how excited people where.
And then to see the pride in our country and the American flags and Trump paraphernalia everywhere. You kind of wonder where we lost that. When did it happen right under our noses that it’s not OK to carry a flag anymore?
Leahy: Did you encounter or observe protesters from Black Lives Matter? I saw some reports they were trying to keep people from getting into the stadium.
Baigert: We did not. And that’s because there was at lease three entrances. So they had these no scale fences set up which are quite impressive actually. They were around the perimeter of a several block area surrounding the BOK Center where the protesters were at the entrance where people initially started camping out.
So if you came to one of the other entrances you wouldn’t have been impacted by it. That was the main entrance. Most of the people came from that direction just because of the way the center is positioned. And because most of the people who had camped out were over in that area.
But we did talk to people who said they definitely there and that they were interfering with them getting in. And law enforcement was tasked with trying to separate out who were the people who should be trying to get in. And because the protesters had jammed up so close to the gate there it was very difficult to manage all of that.
Leahy: You were credentialed as media. What was that like going in getting your media credentials as you entered? What was that process like?
Baigert: Very smooth as long as you showed your badge. You went down to the lower level. The VIP area was down there. That’s where I met Carol Swain and Herman Cain happen to come along for the story you mentioned. And while I was there Eric Trump walked through. It was an all secured area down there. Only the media and only the VIP’s were down there.
That’s another thing that people don’t realize either. This is a campaign rally. There is no real requirement for Trump to set up space and dedicate it for media the way that it is. They take up a lot of floor space (Chuckles) where that could be attendees on the floor.
They have wonderful accommodations with a riser and with tables set up. Power hookups for everybody’s laptops. It’s pretty impressive. The Trump campaign did a great job of trying to take care of everybody between the pandemic and the heat. It was very hot out. It was 90 degrees.
Leahy: Oh. No fun. Tell me, did you interact with any other media types, and what were they like?
Leahy: You didn’t? You didn’t have to?
Baigert: The contrast between the regular attendees and how friendly and warm they are compared to media is just shocking. There was one person I met who was absolutely outgoing and who was an intern of The Oklahoman which is our version of The Tennessean. Nice young man. Very enthusiastic. I actually was able to connect him with Dr. Swain. But other than that, no. There is no interaction. They are very ill-humored is putting it mildly.
Leahy: Give me an example of the other media you encountered there being ill-humored.
Baigert: They don’t approach you. They don’t talk to you. We had to stand in line for a half-hour to get our credentials. Baking in the sun. No one was interacting with each other.
Leahy: The media guys.
Baigert: No other conversation than with this young man. It’s just hard to explain. They are completely cut off. They are not outgoing. They are not engaging in any way.
Baigert: To me, it’s like standing in the line at the DMV. What do you do? You start talking about common interests. If nothing else you complain about the line that you’re in. Nothing.
Leahy: What was the feeling inside the event?
Baigert: The energy inside there is hard to even describe. The whole thing from start to finish you can tell people were just so excited to be there. I would say somewhere between 10-30 percent of the people stood for the entire two hours that President Trump spoke.
Leahy: So high levels of energy?
Baigert: High levels of energy.
Leahy: And what about the President? What was he like?
Baigert: Here’s the thing about the President. I think he felt like he was back with his family. It was like a family reunion.
Listen to the full second hour:
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