Around 60 people turned out to protest Donald Trump's meeting with Black community members on Sep. 2, although a few people came to support the candidate instead. The protest was peaceful and lasted about six hours.

Around 60 people turned out to protest Donald Trump's meeting with Black community members on Sep. 2, although a few people came to support the candidate instead. The protest was peaceful and lasted about six hours.

Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

Protests — and a Holocaust denier — outside Donald Trump’s brief Philly stop

Donald Trump’s visit to Greater Exodus Baptist Church on North Broad Street was winding down by mid-afternoon Friday. Guests were trickling out. The crowd of protesters and the small barricade of bicycle cops were still there. Then: “We got another negro preacher coming,” shouted Asa Khalif, a Black Lives Matter organizer, sounding the alarm.

It’s not just that many activists, who had gathered down the block from Greater Exodus, wanted to make known that those who attended the strictly private event didn’t represent the black community. They wanted to address those who accepted the invitation from the Republican presidential candidate, the one who famously asked of the African American vote in front of a mostly white crowd: “What the hell do you have to lose?” And so Renee Amoore, deputy chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, had gotten an anything-but-warm reception from protesters a bit before.

Asa Khalif, left, returns to the protest site after following a member of the meeting with Trump, shouting, "Shame on you." Khalif was one of the organizers for the protest against Trump.

Asa Khalif, left, returns to the protest site after following a member of the meeting with Trump, shouting, "Shame on you." Khalif was one of the organizers for the protest against Trump.

Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

Things were calmer hours before Trump arrived. Demonstrators included members of the Philly protest scene veteran groups: Juntos, Black Lives Matter, the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice and the Fight for 15, the movement to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

According to KYW reporter Cherri Gregg, Trump met with African-American supporters for an hour, but hung around outside the church for some time before leaving. An Instagram photo showed Trump smiling with a dozen new friends in all.

I'm not a republican but we all had our own agendas to be there today. I'm hoping my presents alone is a contradiction of black stereotype.A successful self made black entrepreneur Real Estate Developer. My exact words, "I did it just, as if, because I didn't, have the same opportunities as a white guy." Donald Trumps words back, "And, Shawn and you could do it better." So Him coming to north philly is what he should and suppose to do, WHAT THEY ARE DO! Hilary, Obama, Clinton, Bush, all political people, don't want to say politician because Donald Trump definitely isn't that. For right and wrong reasons. But I'm not a robot and I've never always went with the safe or "popular" choice in life. I've always went against the grain, research hard ans made my own decisions. Of Course it's things about D. Trump I haven't liked or agreed with but that's something I can say about everyone. I sit at the table with influential people of today and today that person was #donaldtrump to discuss needs, views, and ideas to empower and up lift the Black and minority community and poverty stricken communities. I'm proud to be apart of this panel today with our black business leaders in the city. Glad he took the time and showed the guts to come to North Philly. This is the Biggest of leagues and I know some of you wont understand it but everyone isn't suppose to. Make your own decision for who your voting for. #GreatMeeting #BigBusiness #CNN

A photo posted by The One U Love 2 Judge (@shawn_bullard) on

During the roughly two hours while he was in the vicinity, traffic on North Broad slowed to a crawl. The demonstration was heavily attended by press, but had an even deeper police presence. Dozens of officers on bikes and on foot were spread throughout nearby blocks, some from the local Homeland Security Unit.

“Trump is not welcome here in Philly,” Erica Mines of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice told the crowd. “We don’t support this demagogue.”

Erica Mines, center, speaks about Donald Trump's arrival in Philadelphia at a protest on Sep. 2.

Erica Mines, center, speaks about Donald Trump's arrival in Philadelphia at a protest on Sep. 2.

Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

She said the pastor of host church Greater Exodus, Dr. Herbert Lusk, brought “a crook into our community.”

“He thought that he was going to leave (Lusk spoke to Philly Mag yesterday from vacay in Mexico) and the black community was not going to hold him partially responsible if not fully responsible,” Mines said. “We are not stupid.”

The protesters, Mines said, would be “fools” to allow someone who spreads messages of hate to come to Philly silently.

Several activist groups, including Juntos and Black Lives Matter, joined forces to protest Donald Trump. At several points, protesters made a solid wall across Brown St at Broad St. (Kaylee Tornay/BillyPenn)

Several activist groups, including Juntos and Black Lives Matter, joined forces to protest Donald Trump. At several points, protesters made a solid wall across Brown St at Broad St.

Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

Bearing a slight resemblance to the angel costumes demonstrators have sometimes worn to block Westboro Baptist church followers, and more recently the “Wall of Love” counter-protest staged around the church during the DNC, members of immigrant rights group Juntos wore draped robes. Some protesters held a long brick-patterned banner.

Outside, “We’re here for the long haul,” one activist said from the wall. “We’re not leaving until he’s out of the city.”

A member of Juntos had this message for Trump.

It’s fair to characterize many of the activists, as Philly Mag reporter Dan McQuade did on Twitter, as the “usuals.” Possibly unexpected though was a Bucks County man who came with multiple signs, including the one that began his one-man show: It read “I LOVE WALLS.”

BLM’s Khalif took the sign from the man and a scuffle ensued, but was quickly broken up by police.

Jerry Lambert, the Bucks resident, says he lives in Andalusia. He’s a stockbroker, who’s previously voted Democrat, but has registered Republican quite recently. He’s dead set on voting for Trump. He says he respects the protesters’ rights to speak their minds, he just doesn’t think they “have the facts.”

Trump a misogynist? “If you get married three times, that means you love women!” A bigot? “He just gets a little overheated sometimes. He’s not a racist.”

Jerry Lambert arrived at the protest against Donald Trump's visit to Philly to support the candidate. The other side of his sign read, 
"Democrats for Trump." (Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn)

Jerry Lambert arrived at the protest against Donald Trump's visit to Philly to support the candidate. The other side of his sign read, "Democrats for Trump."

Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

Aside from appreciating Trump’s economic stances, Lambert adds, “I don’t like the way Mexico is infiltrating our country with the cocaine.” Another man, Rich, (Rich declined to tell us his last name) joined him in protest. He hadn’t planned it entirely, he showed up to check it out at first.

Same for the third pro-Trump protester: John Maffei.

Maffei, wearing a Korean War vet hat, says “the country I fought for has disappeared.” He’s an independent voter, but Trump has swayed him. “Exactly what he says is what I want.”
“All I do is speak the truth, I mean that too,” says Maffei, who runs and sells documentaries through the site CatholicCounterpoint.com. His “investigations” are what matter to him. “Six million Jews were gassed to death? No,” he says of the Holocaust. “I have the evidence.”

×
×

Follow this story

×

Success! You're now subscribed to “Election 2016”

You'll get emails from Billy Penn as this story develops. You can unsubscribe in every email.