Supporters say long wait was worth it to hear president speak

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Thousands of President Trump supporters waited in line at the Florida State Fairgrounds for hours on Tuesday. Some even camped out overnight to secure their seats for the president's rally. In fact, so many showed up, that people had to be turned away at the doors.

The line was long. The energy was high. And the hats were red.

Sylvia Hart of Lakeland could think of no better way to celebrate her birthday than waiting to see the president. "I was hoping Trump would say, 'Sylvia, come up to the platform,'" Hart said, showing off her birthday t-shirt. "This is the highlight of my birthday, no doubt."

As they stood, people who were once strangers, shared their common bond.

"We are super excited and we're super pumped up," said Suzanne Vale of Oldsmar. "He's doing everything I want him to do. As far as lowering taxes, law and order, the immigration issue is a huge problem."

"I'm very proud of him, I'm proud to be here, and I am proud to be a black Republican," said Candance Meeks of Tarpon Springs. "The main thing is, he's trying to make America great again. There shouldn't be any argument, nothing else next to that. If you're an American, you should be proud of what he's doing and he's doing a wonderful job."

"I'm a small business owner. So, for me to see the change firsthand is what me support him," said Reed Jackson of Tampa. "I own a pressure washing company so now people want to start spending money on themselves and cleaning up where they're living at."

Some dressed up in costumes. Robyn and Tom Payant dressed to the nines after being invited by the Republican National Committee to meet President Trump.

"I've got my fascinator on, we've got our red white and blue going on here," said Robyn Payant. "We're really excited. It's a big day for us."

As far as what he planned to say to the president, "I think I'd just tell him that I pray for him everyday because his job is backbreaking, it really is," said Tom Payant.

But just yards away from the line to get inside Expo Hall, there were dueling chants of "build the wall" from Trump supporters and "USA" from protesters.

Police on horses and bicycles had to create a wall between the two sides, keeping the peace among conflicting beliefs.

"Democrats never say open borders," said protester Matt Laing. "We say strong borders but not cruelty. You don't take babies away from mothers."

"We are here to show him that we are not afraid," said protester Justin Diaz. "We are not here to make trouble for the police, we are here to express our opinions and to fight for what we believe in."

After hearing the president speak his supporters left, re-energized.

"One nation under God. I liked to hear him say that and they prayed beforehand," said Misty Johnson of Dade City. "It was loud, it was exciting, the energy was incredible."

"He speaks the people's language. I mean, I really believe that," said Steve Richie of Clearwater. "It was ecstatic, I mean, the energy he brings is nothing like I've ever seen."