Presidential visits to Great Falls

Posted at 10:34 AM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 12:34:45-04

GREAT FALLS – President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Great Falls on Thursday, July 5 th .

“It’s always exciting when a president comes to Great Falls – whatever party,” said Jim Meinert, executive director at The History Museum in Great Falls.

On September 26, 1963, less than two months before his assassination, President John Kennedy arrived in Great Falls. Meinert was a child at the time but remembers Kennedy’s visit vividly.

“He spoke at Memorial Stadium at Great Falls High School and it was packed,” said Meinert. "For me, it was quite impressive, I’ve never seen a president before. I was a boy, young boy, 10 years old, he had red hair and so did I, and Kennedy, I always thought had black hair because we had black and white televisions, so to see someone who had red hair was quite phenomenal for a red-headed kid."

President Lyndon Johnson was next to make a stop in Great Falls on September 16, 1964. Approximately 30,000 people came to Malmstrom Air Force Base to see the historic meeting of Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson.

That was also a special day in Meinert’s life.

“A man with dark glasses said, ‘Kid, what are you doing?’ and I was kicking a can against the fence and I explained to him, I said, ‘I’m really upset, I came out here to see the president, can’t even get close to him,’ and he told me just stay where I was,” said Meinert. “About five minutes later, Johnson came walking down that fence and shook my hand. So he was the first president to come to Great Falls I had a chance to shake hands with.”

Next came Ronald Reagan on October 28, 1982 who hosted a rally at C.M. Russell High School.

“A lot of presidents have come through here and sometimes they were president at the time or they were campaigning to become president at the time. So we’ve had our share of politicians from both parties that either became president or wanted to become president come to Great Falls.”

The last sitting president to make a stop was George W. Bush on February 3, 2005. He was at Four Seasons Arena to promote his plan to revise Social Security.

Former President Bill Clinton came to Great Falls on April 1, 2008, to campaign for his wife, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Just a few weeks later, Barack Obama – who was vying with Clinton as a Presidential candidate – visited Great Falls on May 30, 2008.

Thousands of people have already visited the Trump website to get free tickets to the rally. Click here to register for tickets at the Trump website.

Laura Wight and Jasmine Cassandra are organizing an event called "Grab Him by the Hypocrisy: Rally Against Trump." They say that they are planning to hold the rally as close to the outside doors of the Four Seasons Arena as security will allow. Click here to learn more about it at their Facebook event page.

During the rally, Trump is expected to rally support for Matt Rosendale, the GOP candidate who will face incumbent U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in the November election. Rosendale defeated several other GOP candidates in the primary earlier this month.

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