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Zero arrests, few issues during Trump rally in Elkhart

ELKHART, Ind. -- With only four days to prepare and a turnout of over 7,000, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese said his city’s handling of President Donald Trump’s visit on Thursday went exactly as planned.

“One Secret Service agent was overheard saying that they want to come back to Elkhart because the cooperation was so great with our first responders,” Neese said in an interview on Friday.

From crowds lining up over 24 hours in advance to the presidential motorcade charging up Cassopolis Street, Thursday’s Trump rally proved to be a spectacle, but not an obstacle.

“I don’t think I want to have one every week, and probably couldn’t survive that, but I would always welcome the president, regardless of their political party,” Neese said.

Neese said no arrests were made throughout the course of the rally.

Roughly 7,000 people filled the North Side Middle School gym and hundreds more either listened outside or protested down the street.

The mayor said even though Trump didn’t speak much about Elkhart specifically, a presidential visit that included the vice president and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun put a spotlight on the city.

“This city was ready within about four days of not knowing that we were going to have the president and vice president of the United States here,” Neese said. “And in my opinion, it functioned as if we had had months’ prior notice.”

Neese said he got a call on Sunday afternoon saying Trump had switched venues from South Bend to Elkhart.

It’s not yet known how much the president’s visit cost the city of Elkhart, but Neese said it’s customary that the host city foot the bill.

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