November 19, 2019 Sandy Springs - Supporters cheer as Senior Advisor Katrina Pierson delivers a keynote speech at Heritage Sandy Springs Museum and Park in Sandy Springs on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. The GOP hold an event in support of President Trump the day before Dems debate in Atlanta. Women for Trump hosted an 'Empower Hour' ahead of the Democrat debates to highlight the accomplishments of President Trump’s administration and his commitment to empowering women and families. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Republicans rally on eve of Democrats’ debate

The night before Democrat presidential contenders were to meet in Atlanta for their next debate, hundreds of GOP faithful packed a metro Atlanta venue to vow none of them will make it to the White House.

“Tomorrow night, I’m so sorry Georgia, there is a group coming running to replace Donald Trump,” said Fox News host turned Trump campaign advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of the speakers at a rally in Sandy Springs.

The crowd booed in response.

The state of Georgia loves President Trump,” said Guilfoyle, who is dating Donald Trump Jr. “Don’t believe the fake news. No president has done more for American women than President Trump. Are you ladies tired of winning? We’re just getting started.”

November 19, 2019 Sandy Springs - Senior Advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle delivers a keynote speech at Heritage Sandy Springs Museum and Park in Sandy Springs on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. The GOP hold an event in support of President Trump the day before Dems debate in Atlanta. Women for Trump hosted an 'Empower Hour' ahead of the Democrat debates to highlight the accomplishments of President Trump’s administration and his commitment to empowering women and families. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel was among the politicos in the crowd. Alveda King delivered the invocation.

The niece of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began her remarks by singing Christmas carols, adding, “President Trump said, ‘We will say Merry Christmas.’” Speaking of holidays, she said, “We’re not going to let impeachment lies tear up our Thanksgiving.”

 >>LISTEN: The Democratic Debate Watch Guide

>>MORE: What to watch in Atlanta’s Democratic Debate


The Women for Trump Empower Hour, as the event was called, drew a beyond-capacity crowd of both men and women to the Heritage Sandy Springs Museum and Park. An hour before things got underway, the line stretched through the parking lot and down the sidewalk. By the time things kicked off, overflow crowds had gathered outside the event hall to listen.

Many waiting to get in said impeachment hearings inspired them to come.

“This is such a farce,” said Linda Vega, of McDonough. “This president doesn’t deserve this at all. He’s working hard for our country and our economy.”

Women for Trump gather Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

She predicts the effort will backfire. 

“The support for the president is increasing,” she said. “Do they really think the American people are that stupid?”

Most polls show the American electorate is sharply divided on impeachment.

Olivia Angel, of Smyrna, has watched the hearings and doesn’t see impeachment succeeding.

“I’ve had enough of it,” she said. “It’s getting on my nerves.”

Democrats vying for their party’s nomination meet from 9 to 11 p.m. tonight on the Oprah Winfrey Sound Stage at Tyler Perry Studios, the 330-acre film and production company on the site of the old Fort McPherson.

“The mainstream media will be descending here tomorrow,” said Trump campaign advisor Katrina Pierson. “They’re going to help shield the Democrats from the tough questions, help them dodge, help them attack the president. We’re all here to remind them, we’re here too. We will not surrender Georgia to them.”

Women for Trump gather Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Both Pierson and Guilfoyle ticked through a familiar list of GOP talking points, prompting the audience to wave campaign signs with each mention of “four more years.”

“There are more people in here than most of the Democrat challenger rallies,” Pierson said.

Elizabeth Alford of east Cobb said protecting Second Amendment rights are among her key issues.

“I’ve been down to Mar-a-Lago,” she said, referring to President Trump’s Florida property.”

Her neighbor Ansley Duckworth said faith informs her vote.

“I’m a Christian woman who loves the Lord,” she said. “I’m pro-life and pro-freedom.”

Patty Hawkins, also of east Cobb, wore a T-shirt with the American flag emblazoned with the word “Offended?”

“I get offended by socialism that’s infiltrating the country,” said Hawkins, whose grandparents immigrated from Ireland. “Love it or leave it. We’re the greatest country in the world.”

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