Much of the world is still in disbelief about Donald Trump’s unexpected US presidential election win; the city of Mobile, Alabama, meanwhile, embraced it with unbridled enthusiasm this weekend.
Mobile is where Trump wrapped up on Saturday (Dec. 17) a series of nationwide victory rallies. The president-elect stepped off his plane—which taxied beneath celebratory blasts from two water cannon trucks—to thank tens of thousands of people gathered at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Standing the whole time under a light drizzle, Trump spoke about his initial doubts about his campaign, as well as his distrust of mainstream media and his gratitude to Southern supporters in particular.
“They got paid a lot of money. They don’t know what they’re talking about, folks,” Trump said about television commentators who scoffed at his chances of winning the election. He also praised the American electoral college, making a 180-degree turn on his previous opinion of it and saying: “I never appreciated it until now, how genius it was.”
Many audience members closed their eyes to pray during his speech. Trump was also greeted by a group of Azalea Trail Maids: high school seniors who are chosen yearly to serve as official ambassadors of the city and dress in lavish antebellum fashion.
The last time the president-elect appeared at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, it was August 2015—when the majority of Americans were still reacting to his presidential bid with confusion, thinking of him as, as Reuters notes, “a real estate magnate and reality television star with no previous political experience.”
“This is where it all began,” Trump said on Saturday. “Remember that incredible rally we had? I’m here today for one reason: to thank the people of Alabama. We are really the people who really love this country.” Trump took 62% of the vote in the Bible Belt state last month.