COLORADO SPRINGS — President Trump says he will make a decision on the permanent home of U.S. Space Command by the end of the year.
During his speech Thursday night the President said he knows Colorado Springs hopes to receive that honor but he's not ready to announce a decision yet.
President Trump gave the mic to Senator Cory Gardner during the rally.
Gardner is expected to face a tough reelection campaign this year.
President Trump also spoke on the passing of Donald Stratton, one of he last remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona.
Air Force One landed in Colorado Springs around 3:50 Thursday afternoon ahead of his reelection campaign rally.
Governor Jared Polis was on board when the plane landed.
Gov. Polis met with Pres. Trump to talk about making Colorado Springs the permanent location for U.S. Space Command headquarters. Polis released a statement after the meeting, calling Colorado the "perfect home" for the command.
Colorado is the perfect home for Space Command and I was excited to have the opportunity to remind President Trump why that’s true,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Colorado is home to a proud military history. Not only do we have a strong community of veterans and active duty military, but our state is the epicenter for the national security and aerospace industries. We had a great conversation today about why Colorado is best and I think after his visit to Colorado Springs, the President will see that Space Command’s permanent home should once again be in Colorado. The President said he enjoyed his speech at the Air Force Academy Graduation and is strongly considering Colorado for Space Command and plans to decide by the end of the year.
Thousands of people packed the Broadmoor World Arena both inside and outside the venue. Roughly half of the parking lot is being used for standing room only with spectators able to watch on a gigantic television screen.
Vice President Mike Pence also made the trip to Colorado Springs for Thursday's rally.
Republican party officials say they anticipate a sold-out crowd, with the arena holding about 8,000 people.
"We have had people who have been writing the president, calling the White House saying please come to Colorado," said El Paso County Republican Chair Vickie Tonkins.
Tonkins says with Colorado being a swing state in 2020, there was also pull from members of Colorado's congressional delegation including Rep. Doug Lamborn and Rep. Ken Buck.
Sen. Cory Gardner will also be at Thursday's event. The Senator's appearance is a big driving factor for those protesting against the event on Thursday.
Aidan Clark, a freshman at University of Colorado Colorado Springs is a co-founder of the group "UCCS Students for Bernie." Clark is one of the organizers for the protests.
Clark says the main issues driving them to voice their opposition are Trump's immigration policies and Senator Cory Gardner's votes while in Congress.
"We really want to show him [Gardner] that we're not okay with that, if we elect you you're supposed to represent us not whatever the republican leadership tells you to do," Clark said.
If you have other plans Thursday night, this rally could still affect you. The Colorado Department of Transportation is reporting heavy traffic on I-25 in both directions between Mesa Ridge Parkway and Nevada Avenue. The department said there will be closures placed between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
There will be extreme delays on southbound I-25 between Nevada Avenue and South Academy Boulevard. CDOT suggests if you are heading south to take South Nevada to South Academy back to southbound I-25 and for northbound traffic to use CO 16 (CO 21).
The Presidential Motorcade will likely stop or slow traffic as it moves through town. It's best to avoid Venetucci Boulevard, Lake Avenue and I-25 around Circle Drive. As of 7:10 a.m. Thursday, those areas along with Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard are congested with delays expected throughout the day.
If you plan on flying out Thursday, make sure you check the airline app or your email in case you get a delayed flight alert.
Heads up travelers!— CO Springs Airport (@COSAirport) February 20, 2020
Due to the visit of the President and Vice President today, there is an expected increase in the volume of traffic around town.
Please expect delays and road closures in the afternoon and plan accordingly if you are flying out of COS or picking someone up. pic.twitter.com/VNvBJWi4lg
PARKING AND TICKETING
Gates will open at Broadmoor World Arena at 6 a.m. Parking at the arena is $10 for cars and $20 for RVs. The doors to the arena will open at 1 p.m, with the campaign rally starting at 5 p.m. For information on ticketing click here.
Once the Broadmoor World Arena is at full-capacity, a jumbotron will be available for people to watch from outside.
Protest organizers are encouraging those participating in the protest to park off-site and then walk to Venetucci Boulevard.
Outside food or beverages, large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the Broadmoor World Arena. Flags or sign supports and weapons are not permitted. For a look at the security policy at the Broadmoor World Arena, click here.
Harrison District Two will be on early dismissal Thursday due to President Trump coming to Colorado Springs.
Because of that, the district has decided to have early release for students and staff. Dismissal times are as followed:
- High Schools: 11:30 a.m.
- Elementary Schools: 12:00 p.m.
- Middle Schools & Mountain Vista Community School: 12:30 p.m.
- Administration Office: 2:00 p.m.
For more information, click here.
WATCHING FROM HOME
With thousands traveling to the event, many people may also be looking to avoid the crowds and traffic. The campaign stop will also be live streamed on KOAA's Facebook page and will be carried live over the air on Channel 5.2.
As Colorado is still considered a swing state, many presidential candidates are expected to make stops in the state ahead of the March 3rd primary and the election in November.