Friday, former President Donald Trump surprised attendees of the summer Alabama Republican Party dinner by mentioning widening Interstate 65 from Mobile to Huntsville during his 45-minute address.
"One of the first things that I will do to help the great people of Alabama is to approve a six-lane I-65 from Huntsville to Mobile," Trump said. "I heard some of your great congressmen, who I introduced — every one of your congressmen have endorsed me. It's such a great honor."
"But I said, what can I do for this great state? 'You can make a six-laner,'" he declared. "Does everyone agree that's a big deal? OK, we'll do that first day."
It doesn't require a leap of faith to suggest Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, a staunch advocate of widening I-65, had Trump's ear Friday night before his speech.
According to a well-placed source, Ainsworth, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl and U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) were the team who greeted Trump at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, the location of Friday's event.
Each had an obligatory photo with the former president.
When it was his turn, Ainsworth told Trump if he mentioned that widening Interstate 65 would be a priority if reelected to the White House, it would fire up the crowd in attendance.
At that moment, Trump called for his speechwriter to make the last-minute addition to his keynote speech.
As it turned out, Ainsworth was correct. His I-65 remarks got one of the most enthusiastic responses of the evening.
"I’m proud that President Trump is endorsing and supporting my plan to widen I-65," Ainsworth tweeted. "He pledged tonight that the first day he’s back in the White House he will put federal funding towards widening I-65 from Huntsville to Mobile to keep Alabama’s economy growing."
I’m proud that President Trump is endorsing and supporting my plan to widen I-65. He pledged tonight that the first day he’s back in the White House he will put federal funding towards widening I-65 from Huntsville to Mobile to keep Alabama’s economy growing. #gowide65 https://t.co/eLnlWApEkG— Will Ainsworth (@willainsworthAL) August 5, 2023
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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