MANVILLE – It took only about three hours and a few blocks for the town’s perception of Joe Biden to change – somewhat.
As the president’s motorcade travelled to the perhaps aptly-named Lost Valley section of town, many in the crowd lining Main Street and Camplain Road applauded.
Not everyone, of course.
One man gave the moving entourage a middle finger salute and another man yelled about Biden’s failures through a megaphone.
But a woman across the street told him to “shut the hell up.”
This was in contrast to the raucous pro-Trump crown that rallied on Main Street and outside the local airport this morning.
Many of the people lining the streets this afternoon were residents.
“People here have been through a lot,” said one man.
Many in the crowd had stories to tell.
One woman said she used to live in Lost Valley, but that she took a buyout a few years ago.
There were also stories about flood waters ripping foundations off their bearings and of one young man who said he lost his car in the floods.
“Better than losing your life,” someone said.
A senior citizen named “Pete” was a bit wistful. He said Lost Valley is really a nice place to live, noting that it’s isolated. But that also can trap people when floods occur.
Prior to visiting Manville, the president spoke to local officials at an emergency center in Somerset County.
“Climate change is here,” the president said, according to a White House pool report. “We’re living through it now.”
Unless we act now, “We’re going to be in real, real trouble,” he added.
Besides the much larger Trump rally, there was also a smaller demonstration on Main Street by a group calling for an end to fossil fuels.
When the president arrived in Lost Valley, he chatted with residents, many of whom had emptied the contents of their homes on the curb. This according to a pool report.
Politics, of course, can never be avoided.
A man with a Trump flag called Biden a tyrant, but the president apparently was out of earshot, the pool report said.