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Trump turns random supporter Gene Huber into 2017's 'Joe the Plumber'

Javier E. David
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

A political star for the masses has been born — or perhaps reborn.

In a blistering campaign-style speech on Saturday, President Donald Trump once again assailed the media while attempting to defend his policy priorities. In an impromptu moment, Trump introduced the world to Gene Huber, a passionate Trump supporter who claimed to have been waiting in line since the wee hours of Saturday morning for the rally to begin.

Huber, who in a television appearance openly confessed to having regular conversations with a cardboard cutout of the president, immediately launched into a defense of Trump. His appearance also took on a life of its own on social media, with legions of other Trump backers rising to his defense.

Trump may have inadvertently anointed 2017's version of Samuel J. Wurzelbacher — otherwise known as Joe the Plumber — a voter who became an unlikely conservative working class hero during the 2008 campaign.

Wurzelbacher backed GOP Arizona senator John McCain's presidential bid, but rocketed to fame after having a confrontation with then-Democratic contender Barack Obama. Wurzelbacher, who moved on to become a grassroots activist, told Reuters in an interview prior to the election that he believed Trump could be successful in the White House.

One of the fixtures of Trump's insurgent campaign was the real estate mogul's rhetorical embrace of the working class, coupled with a stated rejection of cultural elites. Huber appeared to fit the mold of an every-man receptive to Trump's anti-establishment message.



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