NEW YORK — Over the weekend Donald Trump called on supporters to protest his expected indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. On Monday, few in the city heeded the call.

“We threw it together at the last minute, the last 24 hours,” said Gavin Wax. The president of the New York Young Republican Club organized the demonstration outside of the Manhattan Criminal Court where Trump could be arraigned in the coming days.

“We weren’t sure we even wanted to come out because some people don’t like us, but we are here to show that there is support for President Trump in the bluest area in the country, here in Manhattan,” said Wax, trying to account for the small gathering of some 50 people when he’d predicted a crowd of at least three times the size earlier in the day.

By Monday evening, Wax claimed the small turnout was by design because the club wanted it to be a “low key” event.

Bragg is investigating Trump for a hush-money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Wax cast the probe as a political ploy meant to slow Trump down as he begins to ramp up his campaign for the 2024 election.

"This is a politicized prosecution and persecution without any merit," Wax claimed.

Other Trump supporters said they were disappointed by the paltry turnout, but blamed it on fear of arrest.



Norman Ross, 59, a personal trainer, said that fellow Trump supporters were cautioning each other about coming out to protest, saying they could be arrested in traps orchestrated by Democrats in the largely liberal city. Ross said he believed there was a larger protest around the corner. But, other than a smattering of Trump supporters outside the former president’s Fifth Avenue building, the courthouse protest was the biggest gathering Monday.

"A lot of the conservative groups are writing to each other right now to stay home. They are nervous that this would be a setup," he said, adding they feared "they would be arrested like January 6."

An organizer with the club, who would only give her first name as Chelsea, said the protest was small because the group "vetted" individuals ahead of time, only sharing the location of the protest with friends for "safety" reasons.

"We vetted everybody here, we know them well because we didn't want any bad actors," she said. "It was by design."

Vish Burra, the club’s executive secretary and an aide to New York Republican Rep. George Santos, echoed other conservative critics who say Bragg is soft-on-crime for not prosecuting some low-level offenses.

"Alvin Bragg needs to go back to doing his job, crime is through the roof in New York City," said Burra. "We need him to focus on doing his job, cleaning up the crime in the city and filling this building behind us up with criminals to the brim and not an audience of one, Donald Trump."

Bragg’s office hit back on that criticism Monday, releasing a statement saying: “New York remans one of the safest big cities in the U.S. with a far lower murder rate than the most populist cities.”

A DA spokesperson citied a 32 percent decline in homicides and 14 percent dip in shootings under Bragg so far this year.

Supporters were split on whether they’d continue to protest.

Wax warned other conservatives not to come out and protest Tuesday, as encouraged by Trump on Saturday.

"I have a disagreement with him on that front,” Wax said.

Wax warned it could be dangerous and instead encouraged conservatives to protest later in the week.

Ross, however, plans to return if Trump is indicted. He said that while he was strictly against violence, the protests had the potential to become chaotic.

"Of course they are going to be unruly, what choices do people have? To accept everything that this government wants us to accept? To destroy our energy?," said Ross, raising his voice.

"If it is violent, it will stem from the left. That's what they do and that's what they are taught to do. If they are wearing a mask, watch out. Especially if they are wearing it outside. They are wearing it not because they are afraid of coronavirus, but because they are hiding their face,” he claimed.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post