Demonstrators protest as Trump visits Bolingbrook
Donald Trump's Wednesday visit to Bolingbrook was peaceful, but plenty of tense verbal exchanges reflected national divides in the presidential election.
Trump spoke to a packed crowd inside the Bolingbrook Golf Club at a fundraiser sponsored by Mayor Roger Claar. Outside, about 200 people demonstrated, most of them opposed to Trump and supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Pointing to a multicultural crowd of Trump opponents, Naperville resident Patty Droogan said the Republican nominee has defamed blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and women.
"We are what epitomizes this country. When you insult one of us, you insult all of us," said Droogan, a member of Suburban Families Against Hate.
But others spoke up for the candidate.
"I'm here because I love my country," CeCe DiSomma of Lockport said. "Trump will make a huge difference ... he'll bring back our freedoms."
Inside the clubhouse, Trump said the gap between him and Clinton is closing in Illinois, reported Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider of Bartlett, a guest at the event.
Schneider, a Cook County commissioner, described the mood at the luncheon as "extremely high energy. Donald Trump was extremely upbeat about his chances in every state, including Illinois."
Earlier Wednesday, Trump spoke at Chicago's Polish National Alliance and said Poland would have an ally in the U.S. if he wins Nov. 8. He credited the nation with staying "up to date" on payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Bloomberg News reported.
In Bolingbrook, the mood was genial as a demonstration started in a grassy area on Rodeo Drive. A band played Michael Jackson's "Beat It." And a man wearing a taco truck costume, in reference to a Trump surrogate's warning of "taco trucks on every corner," drew laughs.
But offhand remarks and attitudes about immigrants are causing serious harm, said the Rev. Jose Landaverde of West Chicago.
"We are here to demonstrate against hateful and xenophobic speech. Donald Trump has created so much divisiveness," said Landaverde.
Bolingbrook police had separated the two camps into separate fenced areas, but Trump backers walked over to the pro-Clinton side, provoking some tense moments.
"No Trump, no Claar. We don't want no hatred here," the anti-Trump demonstrators chanted, as a supporter responded with, "Dump Hillary."
But Stephanie Trussell of Lisle spoke on Trump's behalf, accusing Democrats of patronizing black people.
"They treat blacks like it's a disability. I'm a black woman. Don't help me, get out of my way. I got this. I don't need the government to give me anything," said Trussell, who hosts a show on WLS 890-AM.
Curt Mikkelsen of Plainfield said Trump "will bring back constitutional government. He'll take care of the economy and bring jobs back."
Claar told the Daily Herald earlier he considers Trump's visit a positive event for Bolingbrook.
But Bolingbrook resident Ruby Lofton said Claar's gesture was "an insult to women, blacks and Hispanics."
"We have a diverse group here ... and we won't forget about this at election time," she said.
Trump, who was accompanied by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, spoke about reducing regulations and taxes and eliminating Obamacare.
Illinois GOP party standard-bearers, like Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has criticized Trump, were absent but other elected officials present included Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens and state Rep. John Cabello, Schneider said.