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Doors open at the Mohegan Sun Arena for Save America Rally

Outside the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza is a sea of red, white and blue.

Some in the crowd in Wilkes-Barre Twp. arrived on motorcycles or trucks with “SAVE AMERICA” and “TRUMP 2024” flags waving. They’re in town to see former President Donald Trump and other Republican party members speak ahead of the November midterm election.

Doors opened for the Save America Rally at 2 p.m.

The 45th president is campaigning today for the “Pennsylvania Trump Ticket.” He is scheduled to begin speaking today at 7 p.m.

Party members and candidates on both sides of the aisle are amping up their visits to Northeast Pennsylvania ahead of the election.

Trump’s visit comes just three days after President Joe Biden discussed his Safer America Plan at Wilkes University on Tuesday.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who is running against current Attorney General and Democrat Josh Shapiro, is expected to speak at the rally. Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running on the republican ticket for Senator, against current Lieutenant Governor and Democrat John Fetterman; and Jim Bognet, a Hazle Twp. resident and Republican, running against U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Moosic, for the 8th Congressional District seat, are on the line up of speakers expected to address the large crowd today at the arena.

A sizable crowd was already in line for the event by 8:30 a.m. Vendors selling Trump, anti-Biden and conservative merchandise set up a merchandise row in the parking lot. Flags, pants, hats and bags with American Flags were scattered throughout the crowd.

Popular members of the Republican party and more fringe-conservative movements are attending the rally.

Bikers for Trump arrived around 1:30 p.m. to fanfare. U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, from Georgia, stood for interviews outside the line to get into the event.

Gina Coghlan and her best friend, James Miller, traveled from Hagerstown, Maryland, for the rally.

Coghlan stepped in a hole and fell outside the arena. A YouTuber patched her up and gave her a bottle of ice water.

“Every time I come to a rally or anything … and I’ve been to a bunch of them. There’s a part of me that’s just like “oh my god” they [the people at the rallies] are so nice,” she said.

Coghlan and Miller were both at the Capital on Jan. 6, 2021. She says the speakers at events like today’s don’t lie.

“I want them to hear them kind of calm us down to tell us the truth about what, which they do, about what’s really going on versus what we get from the little soundbites from the mainstream media.”

Near a tent set up to support Mastriano’s campaign, Kara Krueger from Plains was the first of what she said will be many protestors who will set up outside the rally.

Her group is called Save Abortion PA. Krueger stood with around four signs with slogans about voting for Democrats in the midterm election and opposing Mastriano and Oz .

This is her first local event for a politician, but she’s been organizing protests around reproductive rights at the Luzerne County Courthouse.

“I’m fighting to save female reproductive rights in Pennsylvania,” she said. “That’s my main concern with Mastriano being that he’s very, very, very pro-life … if he gets into office … I’m afraid that it’s going to be difficult for female or female-identifying people to get any kind of reproductive care.”

Krueger is passionate about reproductive health and laws because she has a 10% chance of surviving childbirth due to a disability.

“If I am to become pregnant and I have to go out of state to get health care that’s absolutely ridiculous to me,” she said. “It means I have to leave the state that I was born in and my family has lived in since the 1600s. That to me is somebody that is saying that I have to flee my home, and that shouldn’t have to happen in the United States of America. That’s completely against freedom and justice. That’s why I’m so angry about all of this.”

Saturday was the first time at a Save America Rally for Damaris Jankowski, 17, Alyssa Lewis, 15, and Kandy Jankowski, all from Carbondale.

Kandy Jankowski thinks Trump will hold the presidential office before 2024.

“You’ll start to see all the fraud. A lot of it’s out, but you’ll see more of it come out."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated that Andrew Torba, the CEO and creator of far-right social media site, Gab, was one of the first people in the arena. Torba, a Moosic native, was not in attendance at the rally, according to his post on Gab.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.
Sarah Scinto is the local host of All Things Considered on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.
Tom Riese is a multimedia reporter and the local host for NPR's Morning Edition. He comes to NEPA by way of Philadelphia. He is a York County native who studied journalism at Temple University.
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