A timeline of Trump's visit to Bemidji
Bemidji Pioneer reporters will be checking in from various locations throughout the day, Friday, Sept. 18, covering events related to President Donald Trump's visit to Bemidji. Check back in periodically to see what is happening around the community on this historic day.
8:09 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Trump wraps up his speech, exiting the stage to the song Y.M.C.A.
8 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Trump is still speaking as attendees begin to line up to file out of the airport. He no longer has any scheduled engagements to attend after the Bemidji rally.
- Hannah Olson
6:50 p.m. News breaks of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death.
Unless Trump was told prior to deplaning, it seems he may have been unaware during the speech. This adds even more weight to the upcoming election, as whoever wins will likely appoint her replacement. A voice from the crowd shouted, “Ginsberg just died!”
- Hannah Olson
6:20 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Trump begins speaking at rally.
6:08 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Trump deplanes and takes the stage amidst a cheering crowd as "God Bless the USA" blares over the loud speakers.
6:02 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Air Force One touches down at Bemidji Regional Airport. Crowds are cheering!
A Secret Service helicopter 🚁 was hovering over us as we took this video.. ✈ #myBemidji pic.twitter.com/6bbX7IZkTj— myBemidji 🪓 (@myBemidji) September 18, 2020
5:33 p.m., Our Revolution rally by Target parking lot
A crowd has gathered for the Our Revolution rally near Target to listen to Audrey Thayer and several others speak on Indigenous issues and more relating to Trump's visit today. The crowd has grown to around 200 people.
4:23 p.m., Trump rally at airport
As the crowd continues to pile in, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, greets the crowd with an invocation. After he speaks, former Beltrami County Commissioner and longtime advocate for veterans, Joe Vene, performs the national anthem.
4:10 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Seats are full and the crowd is moving to the edges of the seating area. It is unclear how many more will be able to squeeze into the hanger.
3:37 p.m., Joint Base Andrews, Camp Springs, Md.
Air Force One is wheels up from @Andrews_JBA -- next stop, Bemidji for a @realDonaldTrump rally tonight. @WCCO pic.twitter.com/fa9Z2CtVlF— Nick Streiff (@nickstreiff) September 18, 2020
President Trump departs Joint Base Andrews on Air Force One en route to Bemidji. He is approximately 30 minutes behind schedule.
3 p.m., Trump rally at airport
Lines are long and seats are filling up at the rally at Bemidji Aviation Services. People were required to have masks on and their temperatures checked to enter the event. A lot of the seats in the arena area are full, lots more people still outside waiting in line that will be able to stand around the perimeter of the seating area.
2:30 p.m., downtown Bemidji
Hundreds take to the sidewalks along Bemidji Avenue as part of Indivisible Bemidji’s “Reaffirmation of Minnesota Citizenship Values” rally. Participants stretched from Second Street to 16th Street in a blue wave of support for Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
2 p.m., downtown Bemidji
Bo Ernst arrives in Bemidji from Orr, Minn. Ernst had decorated his white truck with red lettering in support of President Donald Trump. Ernst drove through at least eight towns Friday, with Bemidji being his last stop.
1:30 p.m., downtown Bemidji
Melody Kirkpatrick sets up signs for “Knitting for Justice,” an everyday activity in which she knits while peacefully protesting what she calls injustices in the world. Nearby, Trump supporter Jerry Hemstad holds up a Trump 2020 flag for passing vehicles. “Everyone knows that I sit out here,” Kirkpatrick said. “All these cars honking could very well be for me.”
1:30 p.m., downtown Bemidji
Jerry Hemstad, 67, of Bemidji faithfully holds up a Trump flag in front of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox and waves to the honking cars passing by. Hemstad said he’s been there for about three hours. “My legs and arms are getting a little tired. But it’s worth it,” he said. He isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be stationed downtown. “I gotta go to the rally.”
Noon, Trump rally at airport
Hundreds of people are waiting in line at the venue waiting for doors to open at 3 p.m. for this evening's rally at Bemidji Aviation Services. Attendees will have to go through TSA style security and have their temperatures checked and be wearing a mask in order for them to enter the gathering.
11:30 a.m., Trump rally at airport
Rally attendees receive masks and have their temperatures taken as they begin to arrive at Bemidji Aviation Services for this evening's event.
11:15 a.m., Bemidji Ave.
Several BSU students, many who are members of the Black Student Union are standing with “white silence is violence and Black Lives Matter” signs in front of a house on Bemidji Ave.
Zoe Christensen, head of BSU’s Black Student Union, said the group wasn’t out for any specific organization, “we just live here,” she said. One student expressed that she was only 16 or 17 during the last election, and was happy she could vote in this one.
10:45 a.m., Bemidji Aviation Services
Officials do a pre-check of media space for local coverage of this evening's event at Bemidji Aviation Services.
10:41 a.m., Bemidji Aviation Services
A big screen has been set up outside the venue for tonight’s event.
10:20 a.m., downtown Bemidji
On the other side of town, the patriotic tractor entourage and the Minnesota Loggers & Truckers for Trump pass by Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox with horns blaring, encouraging other vehicles to join in.
10:20 a.m., Sanford Bemidji Medical Center parking lot
Buses are being loaded up with people and the line is moving fast. Probably over 1,000 people are lined up and ready to go to the airport. School buses can hold 40, busline buses can hold 50.
10 a.m., Sanford Bemidji Medical Center parking lot
Steve May got in line with his car at 6:50 this morning and spent half an hour in line waiting to park. He’s one of several hundred who have been in line since early this morning waiting to board a bus to the airport to see Trump.
9:45 a.m., U.S. Highway 2
Law enforcement have the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Moberg Drive NW blocked off leading to the Bemidji Regional Airport in preparation for Trump's visit.
9:30 a.m., Pete's Place West
Minnesota Loggers & Truckers for Trump complete the trek from Bagley and barrel into town alongside the tractor parade.
8:45 a.m., Pete’s Place West
Tractors and side by sides adorned with Donald Trump flags and signs line up in the Pete’s Place West parking lot.
8:30 a.m., downtown Bemidji
A crew from NBC broadcasts from downtown Bemidji in front of the Historic Chief Theater.