Outside of the secure area, on the other end of the National Mall, where PBS will be holding its annual Fourth of July concert — a completely separate event from the president’s rally — there appeared to be far fewer Trump supporters. The president’s red “MAGA” hats were hard to find, and Trump 2020 T-shirts were nowhere to be found.
Before Mr. Trump’s arrival, supporters of the president huddled in the V.I.P. section under trees to escape a long downpour while the Marine Corps Band played a medley of patriotic songs, including “God Bless America.” Brief cheers of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U-S-A!” came from the military crowd pressed along the fence line.
Daniel P. Cortez, age 68, of Stafford, Va., who was wounded in Vietnam as a Marine infantryman, sat in the V.I.P. section waiting for the president. Mr. Cortez, who works at a group that helps veterans deal with judicial issues, said he received an invitation from the White House on Monday.
“I’m not a Republican. I’m an independent,” said Mr. Cortez, the recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal for valor, a Purple Heart and the Navy-Marine Corps Medal. “But when the White House calls, I’m not going to pass up a seat at an event like this. Patriots should go to any White House. I’m honored to go.”
Jason Cullins, a truck driver from Lafayette, La., did not plan to come to the Trump event Thursday. He was on his way to drop off a load in New Jersey and decided to stop in Washington because he could not deliver on the Fourth of July.
“There’s always a show in Washington, D.C., so I had to make a stop,” he said as he held flags that said “Trump 2020” and “Make America Great Again.” “You have everybody here. You have anti-Trump people, which I don’t agree with, but by God that’s what makes America great. We have freedom of speech. I have no problem with them.”
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