About 30 protesters wearing red hats and shirts in support of President Trump gathered outside Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office on Wednesday afternoon. One woman wore a light-up cape with Trump’s name on it.
The protesters were outraged that Frey has gone back and forth with the president over security costs associated with Trump’s planned rally Thursday evening at the city-owned Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Tim Anderson doesn’t think it’s right for the city where he lives to ask Trump’s campaign to cover more than $500,000 in additional security costs on short notice.
“Everybody is entitled to come to Minneapolis, we believe in freedom of speech,” Anderson said. “He’s kind of making the whole city look bad, like we’re not a diverse community that’s tolerant of ideas.”
As chants of “Trump” echoed through Minneapolis City Hall, the protesters called on Frey to meet them. But the mayor’s staff said he was out of the office in observance of the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur.
After Trump’s rally was announced last month, Frey said the president’s “message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”
Wayzata, Minn., resident Sheri Auclair said she’s attended Trump rallies before and plans to get her photo taken with the president at his rally Thursday. Auclair said she’s usually too afraid of crime to visit downtown Minneapolis anymore.
“The big thing that I see, what’s different about this rally, is bringing it into one of the most liberal, liberal cities in the country,” Auclair said. “We’re going to be coming into the city here and letting [Trump] know we love him, and support him.”
Protesters also decried the recent Minneapolis Police Department’s policy banning officers from wearing their uniforms while supporting candidates at rallies or in political ads. Auclair held a sign she made that morning that says, “We support the police. Frey, don’t you?”
“I love the police, I love law enforcement, they are there to protect, and he turned his back on them,” Auclair said of Frey. “I just want to make sure the police know that we are not turning our backs on them.”
Organizers expect protests against the president Thursday will draw thousands to downtown Minneapolis.
Marilyn Garber of Minneapolis stood at the entrance of Frey’s office to support the mayor throughout Wednesday’s rally. She held a sign that said “Trump not above the law.”
“It’s a time when democracy is in real peril, and we have to stop that,” Garber said. “The quiet people who are more balanced in their opinions need to speak up.”
The president’s rally is set to start at 7 p.m. inside Target Center. The state Republican Party advises attendees to count on waiting several hours to get in.
People protesting the president are expected to gather in the streets nearby at 5:30 p.m.
Minneapolis police have urged people not to bring items like strollers, backpacks, firearms or anything that can be used as a weapon to the events.