Somerset County Democratic Committee Chair Peg Schaffer welcomed President Donald J. Trump back to New Jersey this afternoon at a rally protesting the President’s family separation policy.
Hundreds protest Trump policies in Bedminster
Crowd joins national demonstrations against immigration policies
BEDMINSTER TWP. - With President Donald Trump just a few miles away at his private golf club, hundreds of residents joined the nation-wide protests against his immigration policies on Saturday morning, June 30, along Route 206 and Lamington Road near the Clarence Dillon Public Library.
Organizers said it was the largest turnout for a protest at the site since it was designated for public demonstrations around the start of the Trump presidency last year.
"Families Belong Together'' was the theme of the protest, held on a hot summer day with temperatures in the 90s. It began around 9 a.m. with a procession of some 200 cars joining the "People's Motorcade'' along Lamington Road past Trump National Golf Club, and ended with several political speakers, including Democratic Congressional candidate Tom Malinowski, on the lawn near the library.
Malinowski is running against Republican incumbent Leonard Lance in the 7th Congressional District, which includes all five Somerset Hills towns.
Other speakers included Democratic candidates for Somerset County Freeholder Sara Sooy of Bernardsville and Shanel Robinson of Franklin Township; Democrat Jacob Caplan, who is running for Bedminster Township Committee; and Peg Schaffer also of Bedminster, the chairperson of the Somerset County Democratic Party.
Residents lined up along the highway chanting phrases such as "Where are the children?'' and "Lock Him Up'' while motorists drove past.
While prior demonstrations at this site typically included some Trump supporters, the big crowd gathered at the site on Saturday appeared to comprised exclusively of opponents of the administration.
The demonstrations were held to protest Trump's "Zero Tolerance'' immigration policy that resulted in more than 2,000 children being separated from their families near the southern border in Texas.
Many of the hand-made signs on display pointedly attacked the policy.
"I really do care and I vote,'' one read, in reference to First Lady Melania Trump's controversial jacket.
"Put Trump in a cage, not children'' read a sign held by Bedminster resident Brenda Forte.
"It's important for us to be heard,'' she said. "It's important for us to make change.''
"I'm 72 years old and very annoyed,'' said Marian Magarik of Bridgewater. "I'm also embarrassed.''
"We're tired of the cheating and the lies, and most of all, the hypocrisy,'' said Gail O'Brien of Branchburg Indivisible, one of the sponsoring organizations.
"Things went from bad to worse,'' said Bedminster resident Mark Aronson. "So we have to keep protesting.
"We're not going to stand for this. It's really scary. He's creating a dictatorship, attacking the free press, attacking the Department of Justice, the FBI, destroying our standing in the world, alienating our allies. He's destroying our democracy, doing things that will last for years to come.'
One sign on the back of a wheelchair read, "Children are not poker chips.'' Larry Killian of Chester, 80, who lives with his daughter, Caitlin Killian, in Chester, said he was "disgusted and ashamed'' of the president's policies that separated children.
"It's one of the worst things I've seen since the interment of the Japanese,'' he said.
Mr. Killian said he went to high school in Colorado with a girl whose family was among the Japanese families interred in those camps during World War II.
"It's horrible,'' Sara Sooy said of the administration's policy. "It doesn't solve anything to tear apart families.''
"I'm here to support those who do not have a voice,'' her running mater, Robinson, said. "It's appalling.''
"Love will drive out hate, light will drive out darkness,'' Robinson said later during her speech, paraphrasing The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I believe in building a wall,'' Peg Schaffer said during her speech. "I believe in building a wall in Bedminster to keep him (Trump) out. This is a horrible time in our history. We have a monster in Washington, D.C.''
Many of the passing motorists honked their horns in support of the protesters. But as usual, some also offered support for the president.
"Six more years,'' one man yelled out from a black SUV driving by.