Democrats, BLM movement protest during president’s visit

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Not everyone in the Port City welcomed President Donald Trump with open arms on Wednesday.

New Hanover County Democrats and others who do not support Trump gathered in downtown Wilmington as he arrived.

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“The United States has a great alternative to the Presidency of Donald Trump and we’re out here to support Joe,” New Hanover Democratic Party Chair Richard Poole said.

Democrats, Independents, and others who do not support Trump made their voices heard as the president honored Wilmington as the country’s first World War II Heritage City.

“Wilmington is special and it had a special role in World War II,” Poole said. “I’m proud that we’re being recognized for that and that doesn’t have anything to do with Donald Trump and his campaign rally.”

While Trump spoke to veterans across the river, Army Veteran Brett Walton spoke out against him.

“People literally will do anything to side with him when he’s done horrible things,” Walton said.

Walton says the president is anti-patriotic and he is tired of his bigotry.

“I can’t take it,” Walton said. “I can’t take the hate, the misogyny, the lies. It’s like right there in front of us and nothing’s changed. It just gets worse and worse and worse.”

Demonstrators may not agree on everything, but they agree change is needed.

“I will absolutely not be silent and I will not sit on the fence,” Activist Rebecca Trammel said. “I will be there on 11/03/2020.”

Trammel worked to get people their absentee ballots and registered to vote.

“It’s not about a party, it’s about the people,” Trammel said. “We the people. People don’t always agree on politics, but what we can agree on is being American. We want everyone to engage in this process and we want everyone to vote. The way democracy works is the best ideas win and the only way that works is when everyone speaks up and shows up.”

Even Senator Harper Peterson weighed in on the visit saying, “having the President of the United States attend is appropriate, and putting politics aside for a day would be welcome.”

The Black Lives Matter movement also responded to President Trump’s visit. Black Lives Matter Wilmington hosted an anti-racism rally on Wednesday.

The group highlighted several black World War II veterans through speeches and emphasized that this was not an anti-Trump rally. Instead, it was a rally to celebrate black veterans’ lives and to call for an end to systemic racism.

“Fired up, ready to go! Sonya Patrick, head of BLM Wilmington said. “Fired up, ready to go! We are fired up and ready to go. We love this city, and we want a better future for America.”

Patrick said her father was a disabled veteran and even though today is a day of celebration for Wilmington veterans, it’s important to remember that black lives, and black veterans’ lives matter.