By Courtney Vinopal
From the moment Donald Trump was elected president almost two weeks ago, the area surrounding his residence on 5th Avenue has been flooded with curious tourists and passers-by that are eager to get a look at the post-election pandemonium. Scores of protesters have stood in front of Trump Tower to protest the president-elect himself. On Saturday, one group marched semi-nude in protest of Trump, while another traveled across the Queensborough Bridge to Manhattan, led by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
But this past Sunday, a very different group stood with signs outside of Trump Tower. Some 20 people had gathered to voice their appreciation and support of the president-elect, holding signs bearing messages such as “Orthodox Jews Rejoice in Trump Victory” and “We The People Support Our President Trump.”
Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, “will truly turn this country around for the better,” Diana Atkins of Brooklyn, who organized the rally, said through a megaphone. “They are there to represent all of us.”
Atkins put together the rally in response to the numerous New York City-based protests following Trump’s win, which have criticized the president-elect’s controversial comments on everything from race to religion to gender. Atkins and fellow supporters gathered in a cordoned-off section of 5th Avenue, which is now designated for any groups that wish to protest outside of Trump Tower. The street is under constant police surveillance.
For Ariel Kohane, 45, who lives in the Upper West Side, it was important to show those who have protested the president-elect that not all New Yorkers are anti-Trump.
“We have to show people, as well as the media and journalists, that there is an opposing view,” Kohane said.
Kohane works as a kosher food services supervisor for the New York Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Astoria, and is very politically active. He has volunteered with the Tea Party in the past,
and has volunteered for a number of political campaigns, included Trump’s. He blames any criticism of the president-elect on the media.
“The left-wing propaganda from CNN and The New York Times, and the mainstream media…has demonized him,” Kohane said. “If people were a little more open-minded and flexible in their thinking, they would see…that most of the things that the left-wing media is saying about Trump are not true.”
Philip Rosenthal, who recently ran for Congress, came to show his support for Trump, as did Cindy Gorsz, who is a pro-Israel activist and author of Rubber Room Romance, which questions the American education system. Gorsz decried the left for not respecting Trump’s win.
“If the shoes were on the other foot, we would be disappointed, but we would still show the Clinton team respect,” Gorsz said.
Rob Kabakoff, 58, who lives in Columbus Circle, is used to hearing views that are different from his own — he is an actor, working in an industry that is notoriously liberal. Kabakoff used to be part of the Independent Democrats, but stopped affiliating with the party after leaders supported Hillary Clinton for Senate in 2001. Kabakoff said he craves a sense of unity from gathering with fellow Trump supporters.
“I believe in my country, and I like to affiliate with like-minded people,” he said.
As Kabakoff surely knows from working in the film industry, though, one need not go far to encounter an opposing viewpoint in New York. Shortly after the Trump supporters started protesting, they came face-to-face with an anti-Trump group carrying signs that read “Pussy Grabs Back” and “Ban Bannon.” Outnumbered but determined, the Trump group carried on in the frigid November air.