Trump Backers Hold Series of Small Rallies to Support the President

Reuters

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a second day of small rallies on Saturday in communities around the country, a counterpoint to a wave of protests that have taken place since his election in November.

Organizers of the so-called Spirit of America rallies in at least 28 of the country's 50 states had said they expected smaller turn-outs than the huge crowds of anti-Trump protesters who clogged the streets of Washington and other cities the day after Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.

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Gia Morris, right, 8, carries a doll while cheering during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, March 4. Mark Makela/Reuters

Their predictions appeared to be correct, as they were on Monday when similar rallies were held. In many towns and cities, the rallies drew only a few hundred people, and some were at risk of being outnumbered by small groups of anti-Trump demonstrators who gathered to shout against the rallies.

"People feel like they can't let their foot off the gas and we need to support our president," said Meshawn Maddock, one of the organizers of a pro-Trump rally of about 200 people in Lansing outside the Michigan State Capitol building.

"How can anyone be disappointed with bringing back jobs? And he promised he would secure our borders, and that's exactly what he's doing."

Brandon Blanchard, 24, among a small group of anti-Trump protesters, said he had come in support of immigrants, Muslims and transgender people, groups that have been negatively targeted by Trump's rhetoric or policies.

"I feel that every American that voted for Trump has been deceived. Any campaign promises have already been broken," Blanchard said.

In Washington, more than 150 Trump supporters marched a short distance from the Washington Monument to Lafayette Square in front of the White House to show their backing for the embattled president, who was in Florida for the weekend.

During rallies before and after the march, speakers echoed many of Trump's pronouncements about illegal immigration, the Islamic State, Obamacare and "fake news."

"There are a lot of angry groups protesting, and we thought it was important to show our support," said Peter Boykin, president of Gays for Trump, who helped organize the Washington rally.

During the rally, a small group of anti-Trump protesters stood nearby holding placards with slogans such as "Resist Hate" and "Make Racists Afraid."

Some of them occasionally shouted at the speakers near the Washington Monument, prompting about a dozen police to form a line separating the protesters from the Trump supporters.

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UPresident Donald Trump's motorcade stops momentarily alongside a group of supporters as he returns to the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, March 4. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

In Denver, several dozen people held pro-Trump signs at the top of the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building, according to video footage streamed online.

Two lines of police below them looked out on a small crowd of people protesting the rally at the bottom of the steps.

"No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!" the anti-Trump protesters shouted up the steps, along with obscene anti-Trump slogans.

The pro-Trump demonstrators were quieter, holding up Trump signs as they milled about the steps, the video showed.

In the nation's capital, more than a hundred people rallied near the Washington Monument before the march to Lafayette Square.

"He does not hate Latinos, he does not hate Hispanics, he does not hate Mexicans," a woman who described herself as a Mexican-American supporter of Trump said, addressing the crowd from a small stage. "He's put his life at risk for us."

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