SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Pittsburg State University Senior Andrew Grotheer fulfilled a goal Wednesday when he photographed President Donald Trump during a speech at the Loren Cook Company.
Grotheer learned Tuesday that Trump would be speaking in Springfield and began making plans to attend the event.
“I knew it would look good in a portfolio to have photographed a president,” Grotheer said. “Photography is something I want to go into as a career, so I wanted to grab the opportunity.”
Unfortunately for Grotheer, the event in Springfield was not open to the public, so he couldn’t just show up with his camera.
However, that didn’t stop him. Grotheer began contacting the White House Press Office hoping to gain access to the event.
“I called the White House a few times,” Grotheer said. “After a while I think I just annoyed them enough to send me a media application.”
Once he received the application, Grotheer realized he had one more obstacle to overcome. The application required him to put down a media organization with which he was affiliated.
“I made a lot of calls to different organizations,” he said. “I called KOAM, FOX14, The Joplin Globe, The Morning Sun and the Collegio at PSU.”
The Morning Sun agreed to work with Grotheer, and he acquired credentials to attend the event.
“It was really cool to be there and hear a president speak. I had never done anything like that,” he said. “It just added to it that the event was private and I had to work my way in.”
Once in the Loren Cook Company, Grotheer quickly grabbed a spot and set up his camera, right amongst many national news outlets. He waited in his spot from around 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. when the speech started.
“You had to hold your spot or it would get taken,” he said. “I had the White House Communications Agency on one side, and Fox and ABC behind me.
“I felt like a little fish in a really big pond.”
Trump used his speech at the Loren Cook Company to lay the foundation for his tax reform campaign. Both supporters and protesters who could not gain access to the event stood along several major streets, some holding signs.
“It was really calm inside the warehouse where he spoke,” Grotheer said. “There were some protesters, but they weren’t very close to the building and seemed pretty calm as well.”
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.