There will be a large turnout when President Donald Trump arrives in South Carolina on Monday, but it won’t all be supportive.
In addition to those who will roll out the red carpet for Trump, who’s appearing in the Palmetto State to join S.C. governor Henry McMaster at a fundraising event, there are protests planned with the president’s visit.
Activist groups from across the state will protest Trump at Greenville’s Falls Park and possibly at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, according to greenvilleonline.com.
The park protest will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., according to a Facebook page with the event named, Greenville Rally Response to Donald Trump & Henry McMaster. The event’s profile picture is a image of the president with the words, “Not. Trump.”
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The page is looking for people and groups to support the rally. It’s looking to build a coalition of S.C. organizations to participate as Trumps comes to the state to support McMaster’s campaign.
“We’ll be gathered to express the values of our organizations, and share ideas and speak out to create change within our communities,” the Facebook post says.
Participating groups include:
- Greenville County Democratic Party
- Ground Up Greenville
- Greenville Black Lives Matter
- Our Revolution Greenville
- SC Equality
- Young Democrats of Greenville County, SC
- Greenville County High School Democrats
- Democratic Women of Greenville South Carolina
- South Carolina Democratic Party
- Indivisible SC4
According to the event’s page, 123 people are committed to attending, and 346 are interested in the event.
Another person who is very interested in Trump’s visit is Trav Robertson, the chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party.
Robertson might not be protesting the visit, but he’s a critic of the president. Robertson cited Trump’s comment in the spring that the Germans are “bad, very bad” on trade, throwing thousands of South Carolinians employed by BMW’s Greer plant for a loop, and many more who are affected by the automaker’s presence in S.C.
“I’d like (McMaster) to ask him about spitting in the face of the largest employer in Greenville County,” Robertson said, referring to BMW and Trump’s criticism of the German auto industry.
“(Congressmen) Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Gov. McMaster – nobody said a thing about that at the time, and yet he can bring him back to Greenville County to ask for money.”
Trump’s visit is seen as a thank you or reward to McMaster, who was one of his first supporters during the presidential campaign. At that time, McMaster was S.C.’s lieutenant governor, and ascended to the governor’s chair when Trump asked Nikki Haley to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
The fundraiser is a $250-per-plate dinner event at the Embassy Suites hotel and golf resort in Greenville. Up to 1,200 people are expected to attend the fundraiser. The event will also feature a VIP reception for corporate donors and large individual donors to McMaster’s campaign, but isn’t open to the public or the media.
Robertson said that’s not a coincidence.
“They’re having it there to limit the access and ability to protest,” said Robertson, adding the sexist language and derogatory terms about Germans and BMW could be made at the private event. “Trump is trying to become a dictator and control information, that’s why they chose that location.”
McMaster is seeking a full term in 2018 and already has three Republican challengers – Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.
Two Democrats – state Rep. James Smith and businessman Phil Noble – also recently entered the governor’s race.
Robertson wants Templeton to denounce the president’s sexist language. He said he singled Templeton out among McMaster’s challengers because of the success she’s had raising funds.
“If you can match an incumbent governor, dollar for dollar, that says something. … It indicates a significant weakness in McMaster’s campaign,” Roberston said. “For somebody who says they hate losers, he sure has a bad track record picking them, especially after supporting Luther Strange (in a Republican primary for U.S. senator) in Alabama.
Monday’s fundraiser will be closed to the media, a McMaster spokeswoman person told independentmail.com.
Staff writer Bristow Marchant contributed to this report.