Thousands rally at Grumman for and against the GOP front runner
Thousands of Donald Trump supporters descended upon Bethpage last week, filling Grumman Studios to capacity and clogging the streets outside. Echoing the rhetoric of their chosen candidate, they spoke in tough tones while lamenting the loss of their once great America.
Supporters clashed peacefully with anti-Trump protesters, yelling at the gathered dissidents to “get a job” and proclaiming “God bless Trump” and “build that wall.”
“I believe he’s going to build that wall and secure the borders against invasion from illegal immigrants,” said Jim MacDonald of Flushing, Queens, who loves the Republican presidential candidate’s reality show personality and believes he is exactly the type of president this country needs. “Everyone else is so boring. He’s interesting, funny and more watchable than the other candidates.”
While several hundred protesters outside verbally battled from either side of a police instituted “no man’s land,” about 12,000 Trump supporters soaked in the boastful candidate’s bombast inside the studio. So many Trump supporters showed up, that police said they were forced to deny entry to hundreds—swelling the pro side and causing them to outnumber protesters.
One of those protesters, Cheryl Keshner of Lindenhurst, said that despite the large crowd, she has a hard time believing that a majority of Long Islanders truly support Trump.
“I tend to think that a majority of Long Island voters will not accept Trump’s message of hate,” she said. “I’m very concerned about his demonizing of women and immigrants. We need someone who is not going to divide us and turn us against each other.”
The call for women’s rights was strong among the anti-Trump demonstrators. Planned Parenthood of Nassau County Action Fund joined the fray, calling a Trump presidency a “disaster for women and families.”
“He’s been very vocal in his distaste for women and his desire to make decisions on women’s health,” said Shane Larkin, public affairs coordinator for Nassau’s Planned Parenthood. “He wants to take away our reproductive rights.”
One of the protesters, a self-proclaimed conservative from southeast Texas, said that she is fighting for the environment and to restore honor to her party—and the ideals of Teddy Roosevelt.
“I’m here fighting for what Teddy Roosevelt did for this country’s environment. If Trump is president, in four years he could undo everything,” said Olivia Lamaster. “I see kids in Trump shirts and it makes my heart sink. It makes me emotional because they are our future generation and they don’t realize that if they don’t take care of the environment, their children won’t have an environment.”
Stacey Scaley of Seaford stood proudly in support of Trump with her children, buying them all T-shirts emblazoned with Trump’s face and his many fiery slogans. Scaley said she joined the rally because of her disgust with President Barack Obama and the harm she perceives he has perpetrated on America.
“I think he [Obama] is horrible. He has divided this country and ruined the economy,” she said. “Trump is smart with policy and good with world leaders. We need someone who is not afraid to speak their mind. He could do anything and I would still vote for him.”
As Trump supporters passed in front of the throng of protesters, many smiled with bemused glee as they snapped photos and took selfies. One pro-Trump supporter—Rob Donalds from Selden—beckoned to the protesters with his fists raised in the air and a sobering message for America.
“Whether Trump is right or wrong, who cares,” he said. “That’s part of his appeal.”