March 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
‘March4Trump’ rally draws 100 to Lincoln Memorial
March4Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

Organizers of a pro-Trump rally on Sunday praised the president, despite his actions to undermine LGBT rights. (Washington Blade photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund)

The turnout for a rally on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in support of President Donald Trump, which was organized by the leader of the group Gays for Trump, grew from about a dozen people at its 11 a.m. starting time to nearly 100 enthusiastic participants by shortly after noon.

Gays for Trump President Peter Boykin, who was the first of about a dozen speakers to address the gathering, announced that there were no officially scheduled speakers and that the March4Trump event would adopt an “open mic” format where everyone would be welcome to speak, including “our liberal friends.”

As it turned out, all those who spoke on a makeshift stage with two loud speakers expressed strong support for Trump.

A similar March4Trump rally organized by Boykin one year ago on the grounds of the Washington Monument drew about a dozen counter protesters who denounced Trump and shouted insults at the pro-Trump participants. There were no counter protesters at Sunday’s event.

“Donald Trump has delivered for us every single day,” Boykin told rally participants, who assembled on the lower plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial steps and a short distance from the Reflecting Pool that U.S. Park Service officials had drained during the winter months.

“And you can see here our president has drained the swamp in Washington as he has promised,” Boykin said, pointing to the drained Reflecting Pool, which connects the Lincoln Memorial to the grounds of the Washington Monument.

“We love a president who is open and honest,” Boykin continued. “We don’t have the fireside chats. We have his Tweets at 3 in the morning.”

Boykin and other speakers said the severe wind storms that hit the mid-Atlantic region and the East Coast prevented people who planned to attend the March4Trump event from coming to Washington.

“A lot of people stayed home and organized local Trump rallies,” Boykin said. “For every one person here there are 1,000 Trump supporters who could not be here today,” he said.

Tim Rush, who identified himself as a 40-year activist and official within the Lyndon LaRouche movement, accused British intelligence agencies of attempting to orchestrate a “coup” against the Trump administration. He said British agents were behind efforts to stir up opposition to Trump by liberal activists in the U.S., including left-leaning news media outlets such as CNN, which he called “Cable News Nonsense.”

D.C. conservative activist Susan Monk said she and her husband are committed Trump supporters in a city where the majority of voters may not agree with them.

“No matter how blue this city is, we are proud to come out here to support Trump,” she said. “The network of Trump supporters is what’s saving this country,” she added, noting that she and other Trump supporters are working to encourage fellow Trump backers from throughout the country to vote Republican in the November general election even if they have to “hold their noses” because GOP U.S. Senate or House candidates don’t excite them.

“Our president needs a Republican Congress,” she said.

Monk praised the diversity of those who turned out for the D.C. March4Trump, noting that among those in the audience were gays and lesbians, Latinos, African Americans and Asians.

One of the African Americans who described himself as a proud Trump supporter was Boykin’s husband, Tavaris ‘David’ Smith, who wore a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat with an equal sign decal designed by the LGBT group Human Rights Campaign attached to it.

“I was raised in a Democratic family,” Smith told the crowd. “I’m a Republican. I voted for Trump. I’m on the American team and I’m gay,” he said. “God bless America. God bless Trump.”

Conservative activist and Trump supporter Isaac Smith of Charlottesville, Va. said Trump has created a “sense of national solidarity” that is helping the U.S. cope with a “dangerous world” and with divisions within the U.S.

“We need to stick together,” he said. “The American dream is for everyone” and Trump, according to Isaac Smith, who is not related to David Smith, won election as president, among other things, by emerging as a strong advocate for “the forgotten Americans.”

A young man who said he was visiting from South Korea compared some Americans who dislike Trump to what he said were a small but growing number of younger South Koreans, including students, who are becoming sympathetic to North Korea.

None of the speakers, including the gay speakers, addressed concerns raised by most mainstream LGBT rights organizations that the Trump administration has rolled back LGBT rights initiatives put in place by President Obama. Among them, LGBT activists have said, is Trump’s attempt to rescind Obama’s directive allowing transgender people to serve in the military; the reversal of a transgender nondiscrimination policy by the Department of Education for the nation’s schools; and the discontinuation of a White House LGBT liaison staff member.

At about 2:30, after the crowd dwindled to about 25 people, participants in the March4Trump began their planned march from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House. Two U.S. Park Police officers mounted on motorcycles escorted the group along a path next to the Reflecting Pool to 17th Street, where the group proceeded on the sidewalk to the White House.

After displaying an American flag, signs saying “Thank You President Trump,” and at least two rainbow flags with the words “Gays for Trump” printed on them near the White House fence, the group dispersed. Boykin said he and several participants planned to walk to the nearby Trump Hotel where they would have a late lunch.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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