Several hundred protesters assembled outside Alumni Coliseum on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University Saturday evening to protest President Donald Trump’s appearance with U. S. Rep. Andy Barr.
“I’m totally against everything this administration is for...” said Sara Mielock, of Lexington. “It’s good for me to stand out here and show my support for the other side.”
“It’s a stain on the community and the college,” said Richmond resident Jennifer Inman, who carried a sign that said “No Southern Hospitality for the Whoo-Haa Grabber.” “The caging of children, that’s not who we are as a country. We’ve never been that way, but we are now.”
Many of those protesting were EKU students who marched down Lancaster Avenue to join protesters already gathered across from the coliseum.
“We definitely understand how the tax cuts have affected our school,” said EKU sophomore Elyjiah Streeter.
Several students said they’re concerned about education in Kentucky under Republicans like Barr and Gov. Matt Bevin.
“Republican supporters support the GOP like it’s a bad sports team, and no matter what they hear about it they just don’t care, and they’re going to continue to give their support,” said Michael McAtee.
The solution, he said, is education, and “swallowing pride and admitting that they were deceived.”
He added, “I hope Amy McGrath will win in November and somebody will see one of my signs and Google something.”
One person was taken away from the protest by police who lined up along the sidewalk facing the protesters before the presidential motorcade came through. A woman with a megaphone begged the protesters to remain peaceful after the man was escorted away.
Across the street, some Trump supporters who apparently did not make it inside the rally chanted back at the protesters.
While thousands of people lined up starting early Saturday morning to get a chance to see Trump, there were far fewer protesters outside the event.
In Lexington, the primary point of contention regarding the event seemed to be the traffic backups caused by streets being shut down for the president’s motorcade. More than a few people took to Twitter to complain.
Julia Linscott, of Lexington, brought her 9-year-old daughter Anne-Claire to the protest.
“In one point it’s scary that so many people would want to come see Trump,” Linscott said. “But it’s enlightening and empowering to come here and see we’re not alone.”
Carl and Mindy Hogsed brought their 6-month-old daughter Carlee, who had an American flag tucked into the ponytail atop her head.
“I want her to live in a world where she’s safe,” Carl Hogsed said. “It’s not ok for the president to be on the wrong side of the Me Too movement.”
Lee Murphy, of the executive committee of the Madison County Democratic Party, handed out water and snacks to protesters.
“I’m very disappointed that my alma mater has invited this deviant to Richmond,” he said. “We don’t need the hate and division.”