A total of 305 law enforcement officers were on duty during President Donald Trump’s visit to Springfield Wednesday – that includes officers from the Springfield Police Department, Greene County, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, according to SPD spokeswoman Lisa Cox.
Officers kept a close eye on the protesters and anti-protesters who came out of the woodwork to exercise their First Amendment rights to the freedom of speech and of assembly.
No one was arrested, according to the Springfield Police Department. But the signs, slogans, and costumes were not short on creativity. One protester dressed as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Along Glenstone Avenue, near the intersection Division Street, some drivers rolled down their windows and waved Trump flags at anti-Trump protesters.
Josiah Williams was there to support the president. He held a sign that said, “Feminism is a Cancer” and tried to engage in conversation with those around him.
“I really like Trump because of his reforms of reducing regulation in business and things like that, I think it will be better overall for the economy,” he said.
Williams also supports Trump’s plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, because he says he feels that will help preserve American culture and reduce illegal immigration.
He was countered by hundreds of people along the road waving flags and hoisting posters against the president.
One protestor, Angie Deer, came from St. Louis.
“I’ve never been so disgusted with a President ever. Everyday it’s something different, and it’s never anything good,” Deer said.
Deer said this was her first time protesting, but she says she’s here to try to persuade members of Congress to remove the president from office.
Cynthia Rudolph, another of the anti-Trump protestors, said she felt that Trump has brought out the worst traits of the nation.
When asked about tax reform, the topic of Trump’s speech in Springfield, she said she didn’t believe in that, either.
“That’s not going to help the middle class or the poor, it’s only going to help the rich people. What good is that going to do for us? Nothing,” Rudolph said.
Christopher Smith, of Springfield, saw the anti-Trump rally in the context of other recent events across the country.
“Well I think that it’s not surprising, really. I think if you look at what has been going on in the country, I think all of us, when you look at the news, have been shocked and frankly amazed at the reaction our President had to the events in Charlottesville and some of the self-serving, callous statements he has made about it. It’s not really surprising to see this many people out here making their voices heard in protest to that kind of politicization of violence and hatred in our country.”
There to support the president was Kindra Ritter, who identified herself as a “first-generation college student and a Republican.
Ritter said she believed liberals were muffling voices that did not align with their own.
“I believe in anyone who’s willing to help America, OK? Trump’s slogan is ‘Make American Great Again’ and that’s what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to help the people here. I’m rooting for Trump because he’s rooting for me.”
Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the Springfield Police Department, said the only incident that caused major concern occurred when a vehicle crashed into Kearney Street while the president’s motorcade was nearby—but that turned out to be unrelated to the president’s visit, and no one was hurt, Cox said.