Former U.S. president Donald Trump will attend the 2023 “Palmetto Bowl” at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. next Saturday (November 25, 2023), multiple sources familiar with logistical preparations for his visit have confirmed to this media outlet.
McMaster is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and longtime supporter of Gamecock athletics. His predecessor in office – Nikki Haley – is a Clemson University graduate and longtime supporter of the Tigers.
It is not immediately clear whether Haley – who is challenging Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination – will be in attendance at the game.
News of Trump’s attendance was first posted Monday on several X platforms – including ours.
The information has since been confirmed by multiple political and law enforcement sources.
According to our law enforcement sources, multiple agencies – including the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) and the city of Columbia Police Department (CPD) are coordinating the logistics of Trump’s visit.
University officials are also working with the governor’s office – and Trump’s political staff – regarding his introduction at the game.
Trump – the presumed GOP presidential nominee in 2024 – is the runaway favorite to win South Carolina’s “First in the South” presidential primary on February 24, 2024. According to a poll released just this week by Winthrop University, Trump is backed by 52 percent of likely South Carolina GOP primary voters – putting him well ahead of Haley (17 percent) and Florida governor Ron DeSantis (12 percent).
One source familiar with the planning for the visit referred to it as a “massive production” involving a “massive law enforcement presence.”
The motorcade carrying Trump will reportedly cause shutdowns of multiple traffic arteries – including Interstate freeways – at critical moments before and after the game. That’s likely to make an already brutal traffic situation exponentially worse.
“He could lose more votes than he picks up due to the traffic alone,” one source remarked.
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The Clemson-South Carolina game was the longest continually played rivalry in the south – and the second-longest continually played rivalry in the nation – prior to it being cancelled in 2020 due to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) refusing to play non-conference games during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rivalry has been a one-sided affair for a very long time, with Clemson enjoying a 72-43-4 (.626) edge over South Carolina since the first game was played in 1896. The Tigers won seven games in a row from 2014-2021 – tying the series record for consecutive wins – but were narrowly upset by the Gamecocks last year at Death Valley in Clemson, S.C.
That upset victory broke the Tigers’ 40-game home winning streak – the longest active streak in all of college football at the time.
This year, both programs have struggled. Clemson began the season ranked No. 9 in the nation but has limped to a 6-4 record. Head coach Dabo Swinney‘s team did score a huge win over No. 15 Notre Dame earlier this month, however, and are hoping to pull off another upset this weekend when they host No. 20 North Carolina.
As for South Carolina, the third year of head coach Shane Beamer‘s tenure has been an unmitigated disaster. After exceeding expectations during his first two seasons, Beamer saw his squad start the 2023 campaign just a few votes out of the Top 25.
The wheels has since fallen off, though, with the Gamecocks struggling to a 4-6 record.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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