TUPELO • After being named Mississippi State Homecoming King, Tupelo native Spencer Kirkpatrick received recognition for his accomplishment from the highest elected office in the United States: President Donald Trump.
Kirkpatrick, alongside his father, Kevan Kirkpatrick, and stepmother, Maribeth Kirkpatrick, met Trump Nov. 1 before Trump’s political rally in Tupelo.
Spencer Kirkpatrick is a senior enrolled in Mississippi State’s Access program, a four-year non-degree program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Kevan Kirkpatrick said the opportunity for his son to meet Trump happened by chance. He was meeting with the lead press advance representative from the White House, who was touring the BancorpSouth Arena days prior to the rally. The representative mentioned being a Mississippi State graduate and talked about Spencer winning homecoming king, not knowing he was Kevan’s son.
“After a few minutes, I told her he was my son and we just talked about that for a few minutes. Next thing I know, the following Thursday, she sent me an email to call her and I just assumed it was for something with the event, and that’s when she said Spencer’s been invited to meet Donald Trump,” Kevan Kirkpatrick said.
Kevan Kirkpatrick said the family was in shock. He remembers asking why and being told that since Spencer Kirkpatrick had achieved so much, they felt he was deserving and the president would enjoy meeting him.
“That’s something you would never dream of in a lifetime, that you would be able to meet a sitting president and be requested. For Spencer to be requested to meet a sitting president is just an incredible honor for Spencer, and as parents, an incredible honor to be included along with Spencer,” Kevan Kirkpatrick said.
Trump met the family prior to the rally. Kevan Kirkpatrick said the family was in a room with Republican candidates and officials such as Gov. Phil Bryant, Tate Reeves, Delbert Hosemann, Cindy Hyde-Smith and others as they waited for the chance to meet the president.
Spencer Kirkpatrick went up to Trump first, Kevan Kirkpatrick said. He described Trump as being very warm with Spencer. He signed a hat for him and gave him the presidential pen, and took pictures with Spencer and his parents. However, Kevan Kirkpatrick said even after the photo, Trump spent time with them.
Kevan Kirkpatrick emphasized for his family, the meeting was not political but about it being an honor to meet the president.
“This was about the office of the presidency and requesting a visitation with my son, and it was something that we’ll never, ever forget. I’ll never let anyone turn it into something political because that’s not what it was,” Kevan Kirkpatrick said.
“(Spencer) treated President Trump just like he would treat you if you walked into a room and he was meeting you for the first time. He kind of gave him a little hug and he really was like with President Trump like he is with anybody else, and I think Trump appreciated that,” Kevan Kirkpatrick said.