TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. — Insults were hurled from both sides Saturday afternoon as defenders and detractors of President Trump lined the western side of Ulster Avenue, on opposite sides of the entrance to the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot.
The honking horns of passing vehicles added to the cacophony of the two groups of demonstrators yelling at each other across the divide just 17 days before the 2020 election.
Virtually none of the Trump supports wore face masks.
About 15 anti-Trump demonstrators, all wearing face coverings, stood quietly with signs that supported the Black Lives Matter movement and bore such statements as “Trump for Prison” and, attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “If you’re neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
About six others stood on a median and loudly chastised the Trump supporters, calling the president a racist and a rapist.
At one point, a reporter was splashed by the contents of an iced coffee container that was thrown at the Trump supporters from a passing vehicle. At another, she was grabbed by a Trump supporter and accused of defacing a Trump sign after a protest at the site two weeks ago.
Above the blare of horns, the anti-Trump demonstrators taunted the Trump supporters with such exclamations as “Your shirts were made in China!” and “Your flags are made in China!”
The Trump supporters, numbering about 50, held signs bearing such messages as “Police lives matter,” “Italians for Trump,” “Stop the hate” and “Taxpayers for Trump,” and they waved American flags.
Asked if the dueling demonstrations seemed to be a bit much, a man holding a handmade “Black Lives Matter” sign said the anti-Trump gathering was “a reaction” to the Trump supporters last week allegedly chasing anti-Trump demonstrators.
“They did that [again] today,” he said, declining to give his name for fear of reprisal. “I think they agitated to get people angry enough to make this a little more over the top.”
Pro-Trump demonstrator Joe Ellsworth of Accord said he supports the president because he “is a very outspoken normal person. That’s what we need. … Everybody else is a sissy.”
“You’re not going to come here and bomb our country and think you’re going to get away with it. Trump’s not going to let it happen,” Ellsworth said. “He took down ISIS. … He’s the only president that ever met the North Korean president.. …
“I don’t hate Democrats. I don’t hate liberals,” he added. “I feel bad for them because they don’t know any better.”
Another pro-Trump demonstrator yelled that the president is not racist and has many Black supporters.
And one warned that, “come Nov. 3, there’s going to be a whole lot of people going to be arrested. Let’s start with [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg.”