Supporters of President Donald Trump protested Wednesday outside the City Hall office of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has been in a public spat with the Trump campaign over the $530,000 security bill for Thursday’s Target Center rally.
Chants of “We support our police, Frey do you?” and “Trump, Trump, Trump!” rang out for about a half-hour as the crowd of about two dozen people mobilized outside of Frey’s office. The mayor was not present, in observance of Yom Kippur.
Plans for the rally first surfaced late Tuesday afternoon when the national coordinator of Bikers for Trump posted a Facebook plea for supporters to demonstrate outside Frey’s office. Later that evening, an e-mail from Trump campaign volunteers urging people to show up at the same time and place was also shared online, which included suggestions for signs and chants.
Tim Anderson, a Trump supporter from Minneapolis who calls himself a “political junkie,” was one of the early arrivals. Anderson took issue with the city’s insistence that the Trump campaign pay for costs associated with the rally.
“He doesn’t want Trump here,” Anderson said. “He would get rid of him if he could and this is a way to get rid of him.”
When plans for Trump’s visit were announced last month, Frey said that while he would typically welcome a presidential visit, Trump’s “actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis’ diverse communities.”
“While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis,” Frey said at the time.
The protesters also objected to the city’s new policy barring police officers from wearing their uniforms while attending political events off duty — a subject that has also caught Trump’s attention in recent days.
“We love law enforcement and we love our police we want them to be able to use their uniforms if they want to, to honor our president,” one woman shouted.
A single counterprotester stood in the doorway of Frey’s office, holding signs in support of the mayor and declaring the Trump is not above the law.
“I’m not a person who goes to things like this,” said Minneapolis resident Marilyn Garber. “But I think it’s time that we all, people like me, have to step up and have our voices heard as well. Because the people who are for Trump are organized, they’re passionate and they in my mind are not looking at all of the facts.”
The demonstration was largely peaceful, drawing together a band of several residents who support Trump in a largely DFL city.
“Instead of feeling like I’m all by myself in my neighborhood, I have new friends and it’s helping me as a person to know that it’s more than little me representing him in Minneapolis,” said Marilyn Downs, who plans to volunteer to help the Trump campaign register voters outside Target Center Thursday.
Wearing a “Make America Native Again” shirt, Raul Estrada, of Minneapolis, said he turned up because he didn’t like the mayor “thinking he can be the mouth for all of us.”
“Minnesota, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much the stage for what’s going to happen in politics,” he added.
Ramon Nicholson, of Burnsville, sported a “Front Row Joes” jersey, saying he planned to stand in the front row for what will be his fifth Trump rally. Nicholson said he was “sad to see the mayor make it like the president wasn’t welcome.”
Anderson predicted that president would unveil a new nickname for Frey during Thursday’s speech, as the president has done repeatedly for other political opponents. Trump has already branded Frey a “lightweight” and a “Radical Left Mayor.”
“It’s no longer a little issue in Minneapolis,” Anderson said. “He’s the center of the political universe right now.”
Stephen Montemayor • 612-673-1755 Twitter: @smontemayor