Trump supporters, opponents surround Republican convention

Published 1:16 pm Friday, July 22, 2016

CLEVELAND — As delegates, political officials and media members fill the Republican National Convention hall, plenty was going on outside of the convention premises.

Throughout the four days, thousands assembled in the city of Cleveland making their voices heard in support or against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Ingred Kunstel, of Akron, and a member of the Summit County Progressive Democrats, stood in Public Square about a block from Quicken Loans Arena, showing her disapproval of Trump.

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“We believe in diversity, equality, women’s and LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter,” she said. “All of these things are the opposite of what I hear Trump talk about. I think the truth is he’s a racist and bigoted.”

Kunstel said that she was originally a Bernie Sanders supporter, but has now given her support to Hillary Clinton since Sanders is no longer in the race.

“The Summit County Progressive Democrats have been together for a dozen years and have 150 members that work to elect progressive candidates and focus on progressive issues,” she said.

Cleveland native Marie Anderson-Miller was with Kunstel and said she’s here for a lot of the same reasons.

“I see him (Trump) as an unstable person, and it alarms me to think that he’s managed to get this far,” she said. “I think he uses people to get what he desires, and as soon as he gets what he wants, he’s going to abandon what he says he wants to do.”

She added that she doesn’t trust Trump and thinks Hillary is much more qualified for the position of president of the United States.

“There’s a world of difference between Trump and Hillary’s qualifications,” she said. “He’s not who he says he is.”

Also in Public Square was Sharon Whitlow, of Columbus, who’s an avid Trump supporter.

“I’m a Trump supporter because I believe in what he’s going to do in this country,” she said. “He’s our hope. The last eight years have been very, very horrible with Obama in office.”

Whitlow said she’s been out here for three of the four days, and has even been inside the convention.

“With some of them not supporting Trump when they signed the pledge, it’s very, very childish and immature,” she said of some members of the Republican party not offering their support for their candidate. “They should have given their support to him, and Cruz’s speech was just bad.”

Walking around in a Trump T-shirt and waving a Trump flag was Mariam Noujaim, who traveled to Cleveland all the way from California in support of the Republican candidate.

Noujaim is originally from Egypt, but is now a proud American citizen.

She said she believes in what Trump will do about terrorists and making America safe, as well as Trump’s business background being very beneficial to him in office.

“Trump is a businessman, and America was built on businesses,” she said.

She added that she feels this will help in keeping oil costs inexpensive, and in return reduce the cost of goods which will give people more money in their pockets.

Cleveland native Tony Degeronimo, a Trump opponent, was protesting Trump and the whole two-party system.

“Trump is a bigot who doesn’t deserve to even be considered for president of the United States,” he said. “I’m not a Hillary supporter, but I would rather see her than Trump. She represents the status quo.”