UTICA – Hundreds of people from throughout New York State were in Utica both in support of and protesting President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon and evening.
Trump was at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Utica hosting a fundraiser event for Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who is seeking re-election to the 22nd Congressional District Seat.
Those participating in the “Resist Tenney and Trump Protest” gathered outside of the Utica State Office Building, just a few blocks away from where Trump is hosting the fundraiser. The protest was organized by Indivisible Mohawk Valley, Central New York Citizen Action and 1199SEIU Upstate NY, a healthcare union.
The people who gathered in support of Trump and Tenney were located on the opposite side of Genesee Street.
“I think Donald Trump is the greatest president of all-time,” said Dave from Frankfort. “I love him, he’s my president, and I love this country.”
Dave said the back-and-forth rallies of Trump supporters and protesters is “awesome” and “exciting.”
“We’re all just chanting and having a good time here,” he said.
Among those rallying in support of President Trump was Russell Brooks, Utica’s fire chief on leave, whose son was attending the fundraiser with the president.
“We have people exercising their First Amendment right and that’s great, although I’ve got to tell you I’m not a hundred percent comfortable with those in opposition of the president because I don’t see any flags – well, now I see a flag – but I see swastikas and I don’t see how we can condone that and I’m not in favor of these signs with vulgarities on them. There’s young children here and they’re looking across the street, seeing this stuff, so that kind of takes away from the First Amendment issues.
On the other side of Genesee Street, an organizer of the protest, Sara, said the organizations involved had about eleven days notice that the fundraiser was going to happen, and they immediately got to work organizing their protest.
“We’ve been collaborating together to bring this peaceful, non-violent, law-abiding protest here to Utica.”
“Everybody here, there’s a lot of solidarity, a lot of great energy. We’re all going to be voting here in the midterms, but we wanted to send the message that everybody needs to know that the Trump agenda is hurting central New York families and that’s not okay.”