By JOHN HOWELL The bugler sounded the call to charge, galvanizing flag-waving Trump supporters to cross the Rocky Point parking lot, climb over the railing and head for what was once the site of the Shore Dinner Hall overlooking Narragansett Bay and the
The bugler sounded the call to charge, galvanizing flag-waving Trump supporters to cross the Rocky Point parking lot, climb over the railing and head for what was once the site of the Shore Dinner Hall overlooking Narragansett Bay and the park’s fishing pier.
They weren’t treated to clamcakes and chowder, but then that’s not what they had come for. This was the third Trump rally organized by Laura Larrieve. Her objective seemed clear – to bring together the Trump faithful, energize them to recruit followers, and sling a few shots at Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
But it was also a day in the park, a time to enjoy the sun, the view and a good breeze that kept flags snapping.
Set for noon Sunday, many joined at the Ann & Hope parking lot on Post Road for the “Trump Train” that drove through Warwick to get to the park.
Few wore masks and many greeted one another with handshakes and hugs. At the parking lot, a police detail stood watch, although at least while this reporter was there didn’t leave their vehicles. There was no need to. This was a group unified in belief and those who might have questioned their politics were either not there or kept their opinions to themselves.
“They’re afraid to come out of the basement,” said one woman holding a pink “Women for Trump” sign when asked if she knew of any rallies planned by the Biden camp. She has worked with the Republican Party and thought there was a chance of making some inroads in the Democratic hold on state offices – and in particular the challenge mounted by Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung against House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in Cranston. But when it came to sharing her identity, she said she would just as soon we not use it.
On the other hand, Seth White from Griswold, Connecticut, came prepared to shout his support of the president. With 800-horse power under the hood, his orange Shelby GT 500 with “Trump 2020” on the door left no question where he stands.
“Everybody loves it,” he said of the car, “I get the occasional few that flip me off, but they don’t know any better.” Asked why he wants to see Trump reelected, White said, “If Biden gets in there we’re pretty much in trouble.”
Talk radio host John DePetro, one of several speakers, was cheered as he brushed aside a microphone, choosing instead to use a bullhorn he brought for the occasion.
He said the state is “overrun by illegal aliens” and while there is talk of building walls, “I would like to build a wall around Central Falls.” He urged the crowd to send a message to Gov. Gina Raimondo that “we’re tired of it … we’re tired of Black Lives Matter and anti-police protesters.” He claimed “they [the protesters] want to destroy Federal Hill on Columbus Day.” urging people not to let that happen, adding “it’s about time people see the Trump signs.”
Jerry Zarella, co-chair of Trump’s Rhode Island reelection campaign, wasn’t as vitriolic. He told those gathered that the Republican Party “can’t flip the [Democratic] base” of support for Biden, as there aren’t enough of them, “but you can.” He also talked of support for law enforcement. “We back the blue.”
A 50-50 raffle was held during the event.
Larrieve said after the prize money is handed out, the balance would be used to stage additional Trump rallies. She said that information could be found on the Rhode Island for Trump Pence 2020 Facebook page.