BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Protesters lined the corner of Delaware and Chippewa streets Thursday morning to welcome one of Donald Trump’s top advisers, and voice their opposition to everything from the president-elect’s transition team appointments, to whether Russia hacked the election to Republicans zeroing in on the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, local Republicans lauded yet another big-time political visit to the Queen City.
Members of the media were not permitted access to the event.
They stood by the dozen, and although they likely didn’t outnumber the attendees inside, local protestors were sure Trump supporters in the Queen City heard them loud and clear.
Protestor Cai Blue, of a group called Just Resisting, hung a sign atop the Spot coffee shop building across the street, garnering a lot of attention.
“Our sign said, ‘We will eat the Rich,’ … And we were just drawing attention to the fact that people were paying $5,000 a plate to support Trump, and it’s funneling out of Buffalo,” Blue said. “And they’re supporting oppression and funding fascism.”
The sign was eventually taken down after business owners said the group trespassed to hang it.
Protestors Matt Dearing, of Buffalo, said he’s seeing a rise in organized opposition in the wake of Trump’s election. It’s something he said he’s seen before.
“This kind of is mirroring the post-Obama election period with the whole Tea Party movement,” Dearing said. “But I would say it’s undeniable that he’s (responsible) … These people are out here for a reason, and that’s Donald Trump.”
Inside the Westin Hotel were Western New York’s most elite Republicans, and those who could afford the $5,000-per-plate cost.
“We may be a small city, but we are very large in the Trump orbit,” said Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy
Langworthy is a member of the Trump transition team, was an honored guest at Thursday’s luncheon.
“It’s a significant amount of resources,” Langworthy said. “It certainly puts western New York on the map in a bigger way than a lot of areas in the country. It’s significant that there’s really not a lot of these events taking place. There was a very large one in Manhattan, which is to be expected. But my understanding is there was one in Florida, in Texas and now here in Buffalo.”
He said the event could raise as much as $1 million for Trump’s transition team.
Langworthy said Conway’s visit is another example of western New York’s direct line to the incoming administration, especially given the role of Republican Congressman Chris Collins as a liaison to the West Wing.
“We were some of the earlier supporters institutionally for Donald Trump, and that support is going to continue,” he said. “Both congressman Collins and my self serve on the transition team, this example today a fundraiser helping that transition team is going to go along way towards helping to achieve the goals of the new administration and the president. ))