GRANITE CITY, Ill. – Supporters and protestors of President Donald Trump turned out in force in Granite City ahead of his visit to the US Steel plant.
The president, who arrived in town about an hour late, was greeted by cheers and jeers. It sounded more like a party than a protest at a Granite City park where two inflatable chickens decorated the grounds.
“He’s so racist,” said protestor Jessie Douglas. “I have a problem with that.”
Protestors were armed with puppets and posters. The signs covered a wide range of topics.
“The president is engaged in a trade war that’s more about his ego than the American worker,” said Christian Mitchell, executive director of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Connie Cominsky said she was determined to show up to the protest, even if she had to crawl to Granite City. She wanted to let folks know how much she disagrees with President Trump.
“I think I will be gone before this country is back to normal,” she said.
An estimated 200 people took part in the protest, each with a message for the leader of the country.
A few blocks away, Trump supporters lined the streets, hoping to get a look at the president when he arrived.
“Trump’s got a lot of guts,” said James Shimschick. “He’s not going to back down from anybody; that’s what we need.”
In 2015, US Steel idled the Granite City plant and cut 2,000 jobs. In March 2018, the plant announced it would restart one of two blast furnaces and recalled about 500 employees. An additional 300 people would be brought on by October 1.
Supporters strongly credited the president and his tariffs with bringing back those 800 jobs to the community.
“He doesn’t know how many lives he’s saved in Granite City,” supporter Angela Michael said, “because when this mill closed, we heard all the horror stories, people losing their houses, families breaking up, divorce, even suicide.”