Out on the street outside the Galt House Hotel where President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon, you can hear the cicadas chirping and an acoustic guitar strumming. There’s a man grilling hot dogs in a Trump hat. Protesters holding baby Trump balloons. Trump supporters in American flag regalia. Bored TV reporters.
Trump will address the 75th American Veterans National Convention Wednesday. But before Trump’s arrival, a crowd of protesters gathered nearby. They were chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.” Calls of “Ditch Mitch” and “This is what democracy looks like” could also be heard.
Several signs express support for veterans while at the same time airing their grievances with the president. Cassie Green said she was out there because she despises the president. Green says the president is trying to eliminate the rights of everyone who isn’t white.
“It’s sickening; he doesn’t care about veterans either,” she said. “My dad’s a veteran and he doesn’t care about my dad either.”
But Veteran Ed Chavis said he was thrilled Trump will be in town today.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “I think it’s great that he backs the veterans. I think he’s the best president I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”
Outside the Galt House, Albert Hazzard was sitting beside a pile of goods for the convention. These include stress balls inscribed with a number for the suicide prevention hotline.
Hazzard said it’s a nice gesture the president is here to speak to veterans.
“I don’t think it’s going to change anybody’s mind one way or the other as far as this political atmosphere goes,” he said.
Joe Strozum was selling hotdogs on the corner across from the protesters. He was wearing a Trump hat and said he just wants to see some good old-fashioned democracy.
“So I hope there’s no violence, and I just hope we all just have our differences and act like Americans should,” Strozum said.
Trump was scheduled to speak to the convention at 2 p.m.; that address has been slightly delayed.
This post has been updated.