(WKBN) – Protesters started lining up outside of the west gates of the Lordstown Motors plant by mid-morning Thursday, hoping to see Vice President Mike Pence as he arrived for the Endurance pickup truck unveiling.
About a half-dozen stood with signs, protesting the Trump administration and the vice president — in particular, over his role as head of the nation’s coronavirus task force.
“Which is a farce,” Werner Lange said. “He should resign and repent for all the damage he had done to the health of Americans.”
Others admitted they would have liked to have seen a bigger turnout.
“Unfortunately, we’re all struggling to make ends meet and so all of my friends who would love to come out here today to call Mike Pence out for his total hypocrisy have to work,” Julia Stout said.
Ironically, their messages never got through. The vice president entered the plant through another gate.
The small group then left for downtown Youngstown and ran into many more Trump supporters.
At one point, two young protesters stood in the middle of the Trump supporters, but were quickly shouted down and walked off.
Others stayed closer to the corner, still holding their signs, occasionally shouting their opposition to the president.
The protesters carried signs reading “Black Live Matter, “Pence You Make US Sick” and “Trump to Laid Off GM Workers: It doesn’t really matter.”
Despite the Endurance unveiling Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown still says the president and his administration have let the Mahoning Valley down, especially when it came to handling the idling of GM Lordstown.
“Workers in Ohio have seen that this president has betrayed them,” Brown said. “Look no further than the Mahoning Valley, where President Trump said, ‘Don’t sell your homes, these jobs are coming back.’ Well, he has not lifted a finger when GM shut down Lordstown. We begged him, I talked to him on the phone twice, we tried everything with him. He wasn’t interested in doing much about it. He’s opposed to minimum wage, he has taken away overtime pay for workers, he’s done nothing to make workplaces safer.”
About Pence’s visit Thursday, Brown said the people of Lordstown don’t need a “photo op,” they need action.
“They can say all they want about the guy, he’s leading the American resurgence and it’s going to be right here in Youngstown,” Geno DiFabio said.
DiFabio and the group of about 100 supporters, carrying flags in support of the president and chanting things like “four more years,” started at the Mahoning County Republican Headquarters before lining up in front of the courthouse downtown.
DiFabio said it was a big day for the Valley.
“I think we’re now going to be known as the Voltage Valley with the truck coming in. We have GM building the battery plant across the street. It’s a good day.”
As the motorcade came through Market Street in downtown Youngstown, the chants grew even louder. Organizers said their turnout shows there is support for the Trump administration in the Valley.
“The vice president being here is a wonderful thing and you can see by the crowd, it’s very well-received,” DiFabio said.