A fluke opportunity enabled Marlene and me to be members of the White House Press Pool for the day of President Trump’s Bozeman, Montana, campaign stop.
The only other time that I have seen a sitting President was way back in 1962. President Kennedy made a campaign stop in Minnesota just days before the Cuban Missile Crisis. My father brought my sister and me to see him at the airport on his motorcycle — me behind him on the seat, my sister in front of him on the gas tank. Try doing that today and see how far down the road you get!
Even though Bozeman is 5 hours away, we thought it unlikely that a sitting President would be back to Montana any time soon. There were unique election circumstances in Montana this year. So we jumped at the offer. Besides, it is not every day that you get an email from the White House Office of the Press Secretary. We would have done the same if we had been given the opportunity to be in President Obama’s Press Pool.
This was not a partisan thing with us. It was a pride of country thing.
In the end, it was a civil, exciting, well-organized event. It is pretty heady stuff to see all of the trappings that come along with the Presidency: Air Force One, Marine guards, secret service, armored limos, etc.
Did I worry when President Trump pointed in my direction and proclaimed “fake news” — prompting the crowd of (now) displeased faces to turn towards me too? Nah. I just subtly pointed to the CNN news guy next to me and mouthed, “he did it.”
I’m am being facetious (sort of).
It was a clear, warm autumn day when I saw President Kennedy back in 1962. I was just a young laddybuck then, but I remember it well. He was riding in his open-air limousine and we were able to get up quite close. I have since read that he went on to St. Paul that day to give a speech in support of the Minnesota Democrat candidates. He said unflattering things about Republicans just like President Trump said unflattering things about Democrats in his speech. That’s what politicians do.
What do I remember? I remember that on a beautiful Minnesota autumn day, I saw the President of the United States.
Now I have seen two.