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Protesters, Supporters Turn Out As President Donald Trump Participates In Philadelphia Town Hall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Donald Trump is back at the White House after a quick visit to Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon for a town hall at the National Constitution Center. He arrived aboard Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport around 4:40 p.m.

He then made his way to the National Constitution Center for a town hall event with undecided voters. It was part of the campaign 2020 and the battle for Pennsylvania. Election Day is just 49 days away.

Earlier, President Trump told reporters he was looking forward to the trip, adding the economic world is doing “unbelievably well.”

Mayor Jim Kenney was asked earlier today in a virtual briefing about the presidential visit.

“It’s certainly not something we were looking forward to doing, considering all that we’ve been through in the last number of months but presidents come to cities based on lots of reasons,” Kenney said. “The other thing that’s a little frustrating is it costs us a lot of money and we’re not reimbursed for it and it does have to reorder our police presence in areas where normally they wouldn’t be as heavily needed.”

President Trump’s trip to Center City and the National Constitution Center had all the characteristics of a presidential visit — the touchdown of Air Force One, the massive gridlock in Center City and heavy police presence and security.

It also included what’s now often the norm when Trump travels — protests and counter-protests.

Protesters and supporters of the president gathered at Independence Mall ahead of the town hall.

“We’re out here because right now at this moment in history, if you’re not in the streets driving this regime from power, then you are complicit,” protester Sam Goldman said.

Goldman was one of about 200 who gathered to protest the president. Someone made an effigy, many held signs and most want to see Joe Biden defeat Trump this fall.

“In order for us to have a livable future, we must organize now in the streets demanding that the Trump/Pence fascist regime must go,” Goldman said.

“I’m from the former Soviet Union and I feel it’s so important for people to get educated on the pains of socialism, communism, and what happened,” Irena Goldstein said.

Though part of a much smaller counter-protest group, Goldstein says it’s important to show her support for the president.

“If we could engage and talk, I think a lot of us want the same things. We want our families to be safe, we want our kids to have a good education and we want access to health care,” Goldstein said.

Chopper 3 was over City Hall Tuesday night as protesters marched and gathered for a show of solidarity in Love Park.

Credit: CBS3

The president was in Philly to participate in a town hall anchored by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“I think we could have had two million deaths if we didn’t close out the country. I think we did a great job but we had the greatest economy ever and we had to close it. If I didn’t close it, I think you’d have two million deaths,” Trump said of his response to the pandemic.

Pennsylvania is once again an important battleground state. Both Biden and Trump are looking for the few voters who have not yet decided who they support.

Police say no arrests have been made in regards to the peaceful protests.

Following the town hall, President Trump tweeted a picture of him with a cheesesteak, saying “Great to be back in Philadelphia. Thank you Pennsylvania, see you again soon!”

CBS3’s Joe Holden and Greg Argos contributed to this report.

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