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Tags: donald trump | sneaker con | sneaker heads | young voters | campaign | philadelphia | pennsylvania

Trump Appeals to 'Sneaker Heads,' Young Voters at 'Sneaker Con'

By    |   Saturday, 17 February 2024 06:53 PM EST

Seeking to appeal to younger voters, former President Donald Trump set foot in Philadelphia's "Sneaker Con" to unveil limited-edition Trump sneakers – that sold out in minutes – and make a call in what promises to be a key 2024 presidential election battleground.

"We have a few young ladies up here crying," Trump said at the start of his brief remarks Saturday afternoon in a quick stop before a flight to Michigan for a large campaign rally that will air live and in its entirety on Newsmax and the Newsmax2 streaming platform (with remarks expected after 7 p.m. ET).

"Wow, a lot of emotion. There's a lot of emotion in this room."

Trump was greeted by a raucous Philadelphia crowd of "sneaker heads" at the sneaker convention, using the event to try to cut into Democrats' long-held advantage among young voters. Trump has already made headway in that demographic on President Joe Biden and he sought to keep that momentum going.

"It's very important — what's the most important thing? To go out and vote, right? You got to get out to vote," Trump told the crowd.

"We've got to get young people out to vote. And you're going to vote and we're going to turn this thing around. This country's not doing so well. We're going to turn this country around fast.

"And we're going to remember the young people, and we're going to remember Sneaker Con.

"We're going to remember the young people. The young people that especially wear sneakers, right?"

The shoes, gold high tops with an American flag detail on the back, were being sold as "Never Surrender High-Tops" for $399 on a new website that also sells Trump-branded "Victory47" cologne and perfume for $99 a bottle. Only 1,000 of the gold high tops were sold on the website, and they sold out shortly after being unveiled.

Trump would be the 47th president if elected again.

The website says it has no connection to Trump's campaign, though Trump campaign officials promoted the appearance in online posts.

"This is something that I've been talking about for 12 years, 13 years," he said. "I think it's going to be a big success."

"That's the real deal," Trump said, holding up the $399 "Never Surrender High Tops" that were limited in production.

"We appreciate it. More than everything else, I appreciate the turnout, because they say they have never had a turnout like this. We're going to do things that are terrific."

As he spoke, the smell of weed occasionally wafted through the room amid attendees that skewed younger and more diverse than Trump's usual rally crowds, according to The Associated Press.

Trump's campaign is hoping he will be able to win over more young and minority voters, particularly young Black men, in a likely rematch against Biden in November.

The crying woman in the front row was brought on stage by Trump and delivered impassioned pleas for voters to get out and support Trump amid what they see as the political persecution he has faced from the Biden Justice Department and their surrogates in Democrat-controlled districts of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia.

"We need him!" the unnamed woman said at the mic. "He's a Christian. He's a good, honest man. They're after him for no reason. Go out and vote for Trump."

Sneaker Con is a gathering that bills itself as the "The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth."

Trump's new sneaker website says it is run by CIC Ventures LLC, a company that Trump reported owning in his 2023 financial disclosure. A similarly named company, CIC Digital LLC, owns his digital trading card NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

The website states the new venture "is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign."

The website described the shoes as a numbered "true collector's item" that is "bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump."

"The Never Surrender sneakers are your rally cry in shoe form," the description read, "lace-up and step out ready to conquer."

Among those in the crowd were Jonathen Santiago, 21, and Danea Mitchell, 20, Trump supporters who drove from Monroe County in the northeastern part of the state for the sneaker event. They said they were excited to see the former president and praised how he interacted with the crowd. They also had kind words for the sneakers.

"The red bottoms were a really nice touch," Mitchell said.

She shrugged when asked about Trump's legal troubles.

"I think it'll be an interesting four years if he's found guilty, but I have no doubt he'll be president," she said.

Also in attendance was a group of "cheer moms" from New Jersey who said they were in town for a cheerleading event and decided to stop by for a chance to see Trump.

Karla Burke, 48, said she heard some people booing and making noise, but that most people around her had been supporters. "At the front was a different vibe," she said.

As for Friday's $364 million penalty in Trump's civil trial judgment, Burke said it does not change her support.

"I think it was unfair," she said. "They're just going after him so he's not the Republican candidate."

Biden-Harris 2024 Communications Director Michael Tyler slammed the appearance, saying: "Donald Trump showing up to hawk bootleg Off-Whites is the closest he'll get to any Air Force Ones ever again for the rest of his life."

Despite the boasts by the Biden campaign, Trump is virtually tied in Pennsylvania and leads by almost 5 points in Michigan, two must-win "blue wall" states for Biden against Trump. Trump was speaking in both Saturday, while Biden was off the campaign trail and away from the White House, spending another weekend at his Delaware home.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Seeking to appeal to younger voters, former President Donald Trump set foot in Philadelphia's "Sneaker Con" to unveil limited-edition Trump sneakers and make a stop in what promises to be a key 2024 presidential election battleground.
donald trump, sneaker con, sneaker heads, young voters, campaign, philadelphia, pennsylvania
Saturday, 17 February 2024 06:53 PM
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