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Trump supporters demonstrate in downtown Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. -- A small but vocal downtown Brainerd rally Friday aimed to thank President Trump, after weeks of protests across the nation against him and his executive actions. "We too can have a 'protest' to thank God and Trump," a Facebook ...

BRAINERD, Minn. - A small but vocal downtown Brainerd rally Friday aimed to thank President Trump, after weeks of protests across the nation against him and his executive actions.
“We too can have a ‘protest’ to thank God and Trump,” a Facebook post announcing the gathering stated.

About 10-15 people were present at the demonstration, which took place underneath the historic Brainerd water tower at the corner of South Sixth and Washington streets. They stood on the sidewalk and held large American flags, Trump campaign signs, and signs that said, “Thank you.”

Vietnam veteran Paul Covill, 69, held a “Veterans for Trump” sign. His wife Maggie stood nearby, smiling despite the winter chill. Former Brainerd City Council member Mary Koep sang along as the group launched into patriotic songs.

Evening commuters drove past the rally, and a some drivers in passing vehicles honked in support. After about half an hour, three Brainerd Police officers approached the group to tell them while the protest itself was fine, the protesters were parked in a private lot and needed to move their cars.   

Contacted the night before the event, Mary Tuomi, one of the organizers, said it wasn’t a response to the widespread anti-Trump protests.

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“It’s just that he needs our support,” Tuomi said. “We’re not trying to retaliate or anything. We’ve seen how ridiculous those people are behaving. They’re all violent and destroying property, and we have no intention of doing any of that.”

She felt that anti-Trump protesters were acting out because they were misinformed by propaganda, and their friends posting inaccuracies on Facebook.  

“He’s not going to send Mexicans back,” she said. “He’s not banning Muslims, he’s trying to keep us safe. He’s banning terrorists. He’s going to vet these Muslims, and he’s going to vet people coming from those countries -- whether they’re Muslim, African, it doesn’t even matter.”

Tuomi predicted a good turnout and said the rally was an expression of gratitude for Trump.

“We’re all thankful that America is going to be saved,” Tuomi said. “We felt it was pretty close to its demise.”

Also contacted before the event, Doug Kern, an organizer who chairs the Crow Wing County Republicans, likewise said the demonstration was to thank Trump.

“That’s the big reason why we’re having this is, we don’t agree with the protesting,” he said. “They can protest anything and everything -- well, we can have a rally saying ‘thank you,’ too.”

He hoped the demonstration would be duplicated around the state. Trump’s actions so far to tackle important issues were encouraging, he said.

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“The whole Sharia law that’s in the process of being shoved down our throats, the Supreme Court justices that he’s picking, there’s just so many issues all at once,” he said. “The fiscal cliff, there’s so many cliffs that we’re headed towards, and I don’t think people are paying attention enough to realize that we are headed towards some cliffs.”

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