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Trump Supporters, Protesters Converge On Main Street Square

Seth Tupper

America’s divisions were on display Friday night at Main Street Square in Rapid City. 

Several hundred people gathered to watch and applaud a live video of President Trump’s speech from Mount Rushmore. 

Meanwhile, protesters shouted on a street corner nearby. 

The Pennington County Republican Party sponsored the gathering in the square. Only about a hundred people came for the first few hours.  

They clustered in shady spots as the temperature rose into the 90s. Pro-Trump speakers including former Minnesota Viking Jack Brewer and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell had small audiences. 

Rich Wilkins was one of the early arrivals. He wanted to be at Mount Rushmore, and he entered the ticket lottery. 

“I did try. We were not successful. That’s why we’re here.” 

Wilkins, of Montana, says he’s a Trump supporter. 

“President Trump is the only person, in my opinion, that has taken the seat of the presidency in the last 50 years that is not seriously compromised by outside influences.” 

When the sun and the temperature went down, the crowd in the square grew to several hundred. About 25 protesters showed up, too. 

Many protesters wore masks. Few of the other people in the square did. Protester Molly Larson of Rapid City says she’s worried the Trump supporters are spreading COVID-19. 

“They’re not welcome here, especially during a pandemic where they’re putting not only their lives at risk but also the lives of all the people that have to work in the restaurants and all the people in our community that are going to see the spike from this.” 

Some of the Trump supporters argued with the protesters. Police watched the interactions throughout the evening. 

Seth supervises SDPB's beat reporters and newscast team. He works at SDPB's Black Hills Studio in Rapid City.
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