Trump sparks emotional reactions from crowd in surprise visit to sneaker convention

Trump introduced a signature line of 'Trump Sneakers,' some costing $399, at Sneaker Con this weekend

Former President Donald Trump traveled over the weekend to Pennsylvania, where he was greeted at Sneaker Con with mixed and emotional reactions from those in attendance.

Trump's surprise appearance at the event — known as "The Greatest Sneaker Show On Earth," according to the organizer's website — came shortly before the former president travels to Michigan for a campaign rally.

Taking the stage at the event in Philadelphia, Trump appeared before a crowd of emotional attendees, some of whom cheered on the president as others booed him during his speech.

Trump spoke for roughly 10 minutes, appearing alongside a pair of gold, custom Trump-branded sneakers that are now being sold in limited supply for $399 a pair.


Trump, Trump Sneakers

Former President Donald Trump holds a pair of Trump signature shoes after taking the stage at Sneaker Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center on February 17, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"A lot of emotion. There's a lot of emotion in this room," Trump said shortly after taking the podium. "They have lines going all around the block. They've never seen anything like this one."

"I just want to tell you, you know, I've wanted to do this for a long time. I have some incredible people that work with me on things and they came up with this," Trump continued. "This is something I've been talking about for 12 years, 13 years and I think it's going to be a big success."

Trump also noted that the "influencers" have been "very positive" about the new shoes, which are available for pre-order and are being created by CIC Ventures, the same company that made the Trump trading cards.

"They love it, and they love what we've done," Trump said as he flashed the shoes to those in the audience. "That's the real deal."


Trump Sneakers

Trump takes the stage to introduce a new line of signature shoes at Sneaker Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center on February 17, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Trump told those in the audience that the most important thing they can do is vote and vowed to "turn this country around fast."

At one point, several of those in the crowd began chanting, "USA, USA, USA."

Prior to Trump's appearance at the annual event, which gathers "sneakerheads" from all different corners of the world and has been taking place since 2009, Sneaker Con faced backlash from Trump critics for allowing the former president a venue to offer remarks.

Sneaker Con later addressed the backlash it had received through a statement shared on social media. Notably, organizers turned off the comments for the post on social media.

"Sneaker Con’s mission is to support and promote sneaker culture through our worldwide live events and digital platforms. We are thankful and appreciative of the sneaker community, and recognize individuals who generate awareness and authentic sneaker related engagement towards our community. #sneakercon," the statement read.

Trump at SneakerCon in Philadelphia

Former President Donald Trump autographs a shoe during an event at Sneaker Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center on February 17, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Biden's campaign mocked Trump's attendance at the event.

"Donald Trump showing up to hawk bootleg Off-Whites is the closest he’ll get to any Air Force Ones ever again for the rest of his life," said Biden-Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler in a statement.

Trump's appearance in the battleground state of Pennsylvania comes one day after he was barred from operating his business in New York for three years and was found liable for more than $350 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him, his family and the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

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