The vehicles that assembled in the Victoria Community Center parking lot Saturday morning — including pickup trucks, sedans, convertibles and a beige semi cab — flew too many different flags to keep track of.

Royal blue “Keep America Great!” flags were the most popular. But there were also American flags, Thin Blue Line flags, Texas flags, “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, “Come and Take It” flags, “Trump Train” flags with locomotives whose wheels read “2020,” a QAnon flag with a giant flaming “Q” and even one flag showing Trump, a semiautomatic rifle in his left hand, standing atop a tank with a gun barrel reading “You’re Fired.”

Vehicle number 228 pulled into the parking lot about 10 a.m., just as the Trump caravan set out onto the streets of Victoria. About 230 vehicles participated in the about 20-mile procession across town.

Ryan Sappington, 7, wore a large red “Keep America Great” hat that drooped over his ears. He was buckled into a child seat in the back of a pickup truck driven by his grandfather, Terry Smith.

Smith, of Victoria, said the Trump rally he attended in Houston in 2016 was “one of the best experiences of my life,” so he knew he wanted to attend the caravan on Saturday. He said he’d shown up to demonstrate his support for the president and his opposition to socialism.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran, and I didn’t fight over there for us to be socialist,” Smith said.

In particular, Smith said Trump has done a good job improving the economy. As recently as February, before the pandemic hit, America’s unemployment rate sat at a 50-year low of 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cheryl Thompson-Draper, chairwoman of the Lavaca County Republican Party, stood in the bed of a red pickup truck her husband had recently purchased alongside Tristen and Faith Streeter, who had woken up at 5 a.m. to drive down from Brenham for their first Trump rally.

There were contingents from Lavaca, DeWitt, Goliad, Matagorda and Colorado counties among others at the rally. Thompson-Draper said the Lavaca County cars were planning to continue the caravan in Yoakum, Moulton, Shiner and Hallettsville Saturday afternoon.

For Bill Pozzi, chairman of the Victoria County Republican Party, whose wife, Barbara Breazeale, was the caravan’s primary organizer, it was heartening to see so many cars in attendance.

“We get beaten down by the television and the radio every day and then we have an event like this, and it says maybe we’re not alone,” Pozzi said. “Maybe we’re not wrong.”

Mark Rosenberg reports on rural community life for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He can be reached at mrosenberg@vicad.com or 361-574-1264 or on Twitter at @markrosenberg32. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.

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Mark Rosenberg writes about rural community life for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He covers Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, and Refugio counties. Questions or tips? Contact: mrosenberg@vicad.com or call 361-574-1264.

(4) comments

Willie Ellis

I thought it was a funeral procession for Make America Grieve Again.

Daniel Martin

The act of posting a "QAnon" flag is a sign of a underground cult. That group claims to have evidence of groups or individuals that are promoting child abuse and worse. Why aren't they sharing the proof with law enforcement? How could conservative Christians protect these vile people. Give the proof to the police and "save the children".

Dale Zuck

No Bill. You are not alone.

Glenn Wilson

[thumbup][thumbup]

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