Several hundred people agreed on one issue Monday afternoon: President Donald Trump should stop visiting Palm Beach.
At least 250 anti-Trump protesters at Dreher Park in West Palm Beach shouted “No 45!” at the presidential motorcade as it drove west along Southern Boulevard back to Air Force One. Despite the roars of the Palm Beach Sheriff deputies’ motorcycles and the armored SUVs, the anti-Trumpers’ chant could be heard clearly -- with the help of bullhorns and amplifiers. When the last of the presidential escort drove by, most protesters left around 3 p.m.
SFGN talked with several protesters, including Star Fae, the demonstration organizer, about why they oppose Trump and what they plan to do in the future to oppose him or support those who do.
Fae is the Lake Worth organizer who founded the group South Florida Activism, which hosted the President’s Day protest. It was the latest of many anti-Trump protests Fae and her group organized. She organized the first big anti-Trump protest in Palm Beach County that drew hundreds to the West Palm Beach Trump Plaza the Friday after Election Day.
“These protests are needed to remind people who feel scared that there is a large contingency that stands with them,” Fae said. Elections results showed that more than 54 percent of the electorate voted against Trump. Some polls show his approval rating around 40 percent.
“Four years ago when I’d say, ‘Your government is racist, your government is fascist’ people would say, ‘Oh that lady.’ But now we have soccer moms out here yelling ‘Fuck fascists!’” Fae said.
On Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., Fae’s group and the local Planned Parenthood chapter are scheduled to hold a rally at the Port Saint Lucie office of Republican Congressman Brian Mast, who represents Florida’s 18th Congressional district. At 7 p.m. a new immigration defense group called SFA Immigrant Support Committee, will hold its first meeting at the SEIU Florida Public Services Union office at 2112 South Congress Avenue, Suite 205 in West Palm Beach.
Another goal of these anti-Trump protests is to get him to stop visiting his Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago. “It’s costing American taxpayers about three million dollars to have him,” Fae said. “Hopefully if we keep this up he won’t come here every week.” Politico reported that Trump’s visit over the weekend could cost $3 million. This was Trump’s third visit to his Palm Beach home since his inauguration January 20.
Will Mossman, a Publix grocery store worker, hauled a wagon of button pins with slogans like “I’m still with her,” “Warren Sanders 2020,” and “Dump Trump.” The last one had a picture of the poop emoji with Trump’s hair. Mossman was collecting signatures for a petition to have former first lady Michelle Obama run for president in 2020.
“I believe he is a little unstable and not qualified to do the job,” Mossman said about Trump. “He is constantly doing things that aggravate people and that people don’t agree with.”
But Mossman has no problem with the Republican Party. “There are some good candidates,” he said, “I liked John Kasich,” Ohio’s governor.
Mossman’s opinion on the current state of the Democratic Party? “I feel maybe a little was done to make sure Hillary [Clinton] was the nominee, maybe more than should have been done -- maybe,” he said, cautiously echoing accusations that the Democratic National Committee unfairly influenced its party’s primary against Clinton’s main opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. “But I feel like she was the strongest candidate.”
Mossman said he would look at South Florida Activism’s Facebook page to see what future events he would like to attend. The group’s page also includes events hosted by other groups that are liberal or anti-Trump.
David Peskan, a Boca Raton rabbi, brought his guitar and amplifier to the protest, singing songs like “We shall overcome” and “This land is your land.” He had a much stronger opinion on Trump. “I think he’s a menace to society,” he said. “And we as citizens have a duty to stand up, to rebuke, what he has to feed us.”
Peskan’s opinion on Republicans in power? “I hope they have the courage to stand up for their constituencies, to do what’s right.” And he thinks the Democrats could improve themselves. “They did a lousy job” last election, he said. “They unfortunately couldn’t connect with the working man or woman. No doubt about that.”
On changing local politics, Fae mentioned Lake Worth, where she lives. “It would be excellent to see the mayor and commissioners take a direct stance against ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] raids -- protect the people living in their city,” she said. Fae was referring to the fear that federal immigration officers under Trump would find and deport illegal immigrants in the city more often that usual. Census data shows that around one-third of Lake Worth’s 37,498 residents are foreigners.
But Fae wants South Florida Activism to fight for issues, not political candidates. Personally though she does support candidates like Lake Worth City Commissioner Chris McVoy, who is up for reelection March 14. But when asked what issues she agrees with McVoy on, she could not name one off the top of her head. McVoy recently spoke about getting involved in local politics at the West Palm Beach Women’s March rally January 21, which was organized by South Florida Activism.
More protests and rallies against Trump and for liberal causes are scheduled over the next few weeks.
- On Wednesday at 7 p.m., two rallies are scheduled to be held in solidarity with natives against the Dakota Access Pipeline. One at Friends Quaker Meeting House at 823 North A Street in Lake Worth, the other at 100 South Clematis Street in West Palm.
- On Friday at 6:30 p.m., a march in support of transgender black people is scheduled at Huizenga Park at 32 East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
- On Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, a rally against repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is scheduled at Mast’s Port Saint Lucie office.
- On Sunday from 11 a.m. through the late afternoon, South Florida Activism will hold its first committee meetings for members interested in healthcare, women’s rights, the environment, education, racial justice and LGBT rights.