A crowd of about 20 people gathered outside the Lockheed Martin plant in Pike County for President Biden’s visit today, including some Biden detractors there to jeer the president.
Others were there to show appreciation for the Democratic president’s visit to a state that overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in the last two elections.
There were no protests or disturbances in the gathering along the two-lane road near the plant’s gate, which was flanked by law enforcement. The plant is a short distance off U.S. 231, about 10 miles north of Troy.
Shelby Knotts of Dothan said he waited about three hours outside the plant to flip a bird to the president.
“I fully understand that this is an illegal administration,” Knotts said. “He stole the election. Everything was rigged. There is nothing that holds any ground that Biden is doing. I refuse to call him President Biden. He’s not the president.”
Knotts, 25, said he voted for Donald Trump in 2016, the first time he voted, and again in 2020. Knotts said he works at an electronics plant in Dothan that is a supplier for the Lockheed Martin plant.
“My dad spent 23 years in the Air Force,” Knotts said. “My granddad was in Vietnam. My mom’s dad was in the Air Force. It’s straight up military background here. Nothing but American love.”
Claims by Trump and his supporters that the election was stolen were rejected by courts and by officials in the swing states where irregularities were alleged, although some Republican officials still try to raise doubts.
“I’m here to stand up as an American and say enough is enough,” Knotts said. “I mean, this has to end at some point.”
Others in the crowd talked to reporters as they waited on Biden’s motorcade, which arrived about 1 p.m. They watched from about a hundred yards from the gate, a distance maintained by police. The distance was too great to see inside the president’s vehicle or to exchange waves.
Marianela Gonzalez, chair of the Dale County Democratic party, held a poster decorated with hearts and the words, “We stand with you, Mr. President Biden.”
“My message is that I love him and stand by him,” Gonzalez said. “Whatever he needs to do to help our country, he will do it. With the faith of our God, he’s gonna help us all. Not only the Republicans nor the Democrats. All of us are one. We’re all human.”
Mary Wiley, a Democrat from Coffee County, was with Gonzalez and also carried a pro-Biden poster.
“I would like to just to get a glimpse of the president,” Wiley said. “He is just such a wonderful man. He has done so many things for America. And I love what he’s trying to do for Ukraine with that war that is going on over there with Putin.
“And I’m just praying that it all will be turned around. And I’m just thankful that he’s a president with a good heart. Not for just some people but all the people, but just people all over the world. You know, he reminds me of Jesus. He don’t show no partiality when it comes down to humanity and mankind because that’s what it’s all about. We all are one.”
Linda Kirkland of Dothan waited on Biden with three others.
“I just wanted to be here to see the president even though I can’t see him,” Kirkland said shortly after the motorcade rolled past. “I want him to know that I support him wholeheartedly. And that is why we came up.”
Most of the crowd had left by the time the Biden motorcade departed the plant about 2:30 p.m.
Shaun Stauffer, 27, of Monroe, La., was still there and waved at the president’s vehicle on its way out. Stauffer said he had been a Biden supporter since 2020 and did not know when the president would be as close to his home again, so he made the trip to Alabama.
“I don’t think he’s a perfect politician,” Stauffer said. “He’s certainly got his flaws as does the rest of the Democratic Party. But he’s got potential. I think he’s got some ideas that are pretty good. I just wished that they had more fight in that I’d like to see them being a little bit more bold than they are.”
Stauffer said he was expecting a rowdier reception for Biden in pro-Trump Alabama.
“I’m surprised it wasn’t a little bit more vitriolic,” Stauffer said. “You know, it’s the south so I generally expected it not to be a warm welcome for Democrats around here.”
President Biden in Alabama today: What to know about Lockheed missile plant, what’s made there?
Congressman Barry Moore says Biden misses the mark on ‘taxpayer funded PR trip’ to Alabama