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Hundreds Protest, Support Trump Outside Kenosha Appearance

Marti Mikkelson
Protesters outside Snap-On Tuesday in Kenosha

President Trump is promising to solve a trade dispute with Canada that has left dozens of dairy farmers in Wisconsin scrambling to find new buyers for their product. Trump made his remarks during a visit Tuesday to Snap-On Tools in Kenosha.

“We’re also going to stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and I’ve been reading and talking about it for a long time, and that demands immediately, fair trade with all of our trading partners and that includes Canada,” Trump says.

Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin in last fall's election, and that divided citizenry was evident outside Tuesday’s event. Demonstrators crowded the sidewalks outside of Snap-On Tools. They stood next to each other for hours, chanting in different rhythms.

One backer is Barbara Griffin of Kenosha; she’s holding up a sign left over from the campaign that reads "Trump/Pence."

Credit Marti Mikkelson
Trumps supporters chanted his name.

“The left tend to get more of the press, but there’s a lot of us common, working people who are for him and he needs to know that we support him,” she says.

Griffin says she’s pleased that President Trump signed an executive order in Kenosha. The order tightens the rules on technology companies seeking to bring highly skilled workers from other countries to the U.S. She says the move will help American laborers.

“I’m fine with that and I think a lot of times, there are American workers that are capable of the job, but there are a lot of foreigners in there bidding for the same job. I have two cousins who are out of work, college educated that got turned down, they’re engineers and it can’t hurt them to have more jobs,” Griffin says.

While Griffin says so far she’s thrilled with Trump’s job performance, others aren’t enthused. Sandra Lepisto of Racine is holding a sign that reads “Show Your Taxes.” She says it’s frustrating that Trump hasn’t revealed most of his tax returns.

“People are struggling to pay their taxes. He’s proud because he knows how to not pay taxes and then he conveniently reveals one year where he paid taxes but we know that there have been many, many more years where he didn’t pay taxes,” Lepisto says.

Others in the crowd voiced different beefs. Jared Hicks drove up from Zion, Illinois and thinks the president should develop a thicker skin and objects to Trump’s use of Twitter.

“I don’t like this idea that he seems to have that he’s beyond criticism just because he’s the president and I think it’s really immature that he attacks people on Twitter who disagree with him,” he says.

Another issue people in the crowd raised is Trump’s recent order of missile strikes in Syria. Diana Graves says the move makes her nervous. “I believe in peace, I believe there are peaceful ways of handling this and I hope he doesn’t get a little too anxious, if you know what I mean,” shes says.

Daniel Fritz supports Trump’s foreign strategy. “Peace is not always attained without some form of showing your strength and you have to do it in a way that’s measured but you also have to let people know that there’s a line that you can’t cross,” he says.

The President did not address foreign policy matters during his visit to Wisconsin. Most of his focus was on American workers.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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