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 Tom Moran, of Fenton, holds up a sign he made before President Trump's visit to Warren Jan. 30.

Tom Moran, of Fenton, holds up a sign he made before President Trump's visit to Warren Jan. 30.

Photo by Maria Allard

Trump’s visit draws protesters, supporters

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published January 30, 2020

 A car parked in Warren Jan. 30 had this sign posted.

A car parked in Warren Jan. 30 had this sign posted.

Photo by Maria Allard


WARREN — As Dana Inc. employees waited for the arrival of President Donald Trump Jan. 30, supporters and protesters stood outside along Van Dyke Avenue in front of the manufacturing facility.

Passing motorists honked as they traveled by. Many protestors held up signs, while supporters waved American flags. With his oversized “Trump Sold Us Out” sign, Tom Moran was one of the first protestors on-site. He’s worried about Medicare.

“I’ll be 65 in February,” the Fenton resident said. “Trump promised to protect Medicare. Now he’s talking about cuts. Seniors depend on Medicare. He needs to remember who voted for him.”

Moran, a bus driver who did not vote for Trump in 2016, said it took him 12 hours to hand paint his sign, which also read “Huge tax cuts for 1%,” “Medicare cuts in 2020” and “Why has he forgotten us?” Moran said he always votes by absentee ballot and encouraged others to do the same to avoid long lines at the polls.

“Sit back and watch the returns,” he said.

Although Moran isn’t backing Trump, he reached out a handshake to Trump supporter Marlene Mastromatteo. The 67-year-old St. Clair Shores resident voted for Trump in 2016 and said she will again in 2020.

“I was hoping to see him today,” said Mastromatteo, wearing a peach-colored baseball cap that read “President Trump 2020, keep America great.” “I’m really happy with him. He has created so many jobs. Our economy is going up. Our stocks are going up.”

She’s been watching the impeachment hearings and still supports the president.

“I’m glad Trump isn’t a politician. He’s cleaning out the swamp. He just signed a contract with China and Mexico,” Mastromatteo said, referring to the Phase One Trade Agreement with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “I hope he wins a second term. I love a lot of the stuff he’s done. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.”

Later in the day, members of the group Close the Camps Detroit Coalition lined up along Van Dyke Avenue to protest the president’s visit.

“I have a family. It’s important to me we preserve the Constitution and our balance of power in government,” group member Libby Jones said. “To think the president can skirt around the law is mindblowing.

“With someone like Trump, who is power hungry, I think it’s important to show resistance and disapproval even in 30-degree weather,” Jones, 34, of Westland, said. “To be silent is to be complicit.”

Rachel Mullins, 32, of St. Clair Shores, carried a sign that read “The Future Is Female” as she joined other protestors. Mullins said she feels Trump has “such a hateful agenda in front of us.”  

“Women have been silent since the beginning of time. With somebody in office who has such a hateful platform, now is the most important time for women to come together and let our voices be heard … for the rights of our bodies, the right to feel the person representing our country is for us and not against us, the right to feel safe in our government, our environment and our communities,” Mullins said. “We want basic human rights and peace.”

On the other side of Van Dyke, the Trump Unity Bridge was on site with its driver, Rob Cortis. The Livonia resident and Trump supporter drives the patriotic float across the country in an effort to unite the country.

“I’ve never understood some people that don’t understand the vaules our forefathers put forth for us. The common bond is the debate, not the hate. If we can agree on common ground, we can get people in a better place,” Cortis said. “I invite Democrats to talk to me all the time.”

Christina Fitchett-Hickson drove all the way from the Flint area to stand with the Trump Unity Bridge crowd and watch the president’s motorcade.

“Very exciting. It was like the Fourth of July,” Fitchett-Hickson, 48, of Burton, said. “Everyone from all walks of life gathered around. These people are amazing. These people are loving people that love America, that love God.”

She voted for Trump in 2016 and plans to again this year.

“We saw him as hope. He was so real,” she said. “We had so much devastation in our city. We lost our jobs when GM left us. The schools had less people. Trump comes in with that hope. We’re talking jobs everywhere. He has so much support.”