Two dozen supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump showed up at Grapevine Banquets to protest Hillary Clinton’s candidacy Tuesday afternoon, drawing honks of support from cars passing on Dick Road.
Wearing a large button declaring “Hillary for Prison,” Patrick Delaney said he organized the protest on short notice and was happy to have people turn out in the middle of the working day to protest former President Bill Clinton’s efforts to campaign on his wife’s behalf.
“It’s appalling to me that Bill can just breeze into town, that the blue-collar, hardworking people of Cheektowaga and Depew will just drop everything to support her,” he said. “It’s a personal affront to me. How dare she come into my hometown and try to elicit support from the people I grew up with.”
Meanwhile, roughly a dozen Bernie Sanders supporters trickled in and out a short distance away in hopes that passers-by would “feel the Bern” for Hillary Clinton’s Democratic rival.
Sanders supporter John Bova held up a large red, white and blue sign with a picture of Sanders and the words “Not for Sale.” He said he actually liked former President Clinton, but was drawn to Sanders’ inclusive, fight-for-the-common-man message and grass-roots fundraising.
“This is the first time I felt strongly enough about a candidate to root for him, work for him,” said Bova, a Cheektowaga resident.
Many pro-Trump/anti-Clinton protesters said they were relatively new to their political activist roles, but were inspired by Trump and no less determined to make their disdain of Hillary Clinton clear. Many held up signs highlighting the controversies and criticisms involving Clinton’s emails and her inability as secretary of state to safeguard Americans in the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Depew resident Julie Kaska, a stay-at-home-mother, held up a sign equating Clinton with “lies and murder” while a large banner posted by the road read, “We the People Remember Benghazi.” Another sign referred to Clinton as a “Stonecold Lying Sociopath.”
Tea party supporter Peter Catania, a retired Army veteran and Town of Tonawanda resident, held up his own handmade sign calling Democrats “a cancer on America.” While he was happy to stand with Delaney’s protesters, he said he was disappointed more tea party activists didn’t turn out Tuesday afternoon.
Sanders supporters, meanwhile, didn’t promote any anti-Clinton messages but instead used former President Clinton’s appearance as an opportunity to raise more support for their own candidate.
Holding up a simple black-and-white sign along Dick Road that read, “Bill, Endorse Bernie,” North Buffalo resident Rebecca Cordaro said she stopped to join protesters on her way to work and made up the sign in the parking spot. She said she believes Sanders will protect more people from exploitation at the hands of big business.