Window display in Saugerties bookstore linking Trump with Nazism proves controversial

Brian Donoghue and Angie Minew discuss their positions in front of the store. (photos by David Gordon)

Brian Donoghue and Angie Minew discuss their positions in front of the store. (photos by David Gordon)

About 30 people lined up in front of the Inquiring Mind book store Wednesday afternoon, October 19, most to protest a window display of books about Donald Trump, white supremacy and Hitler, below the legend in large print, “Trump, Make American hate again,” with a large flag with a swastika insignia. A handful supported the store owner, Brian Donoghue.

Angie Minew, second vice chair of the Saugerties Conservative Party, who organized the rally, said she was pleased with the turnout, given that she had first called for people to turn out only on the morning of the rally, October 19. “I put this together at 6 a.m. today, so it’s a good turnout; absolutely fantastic. As a community we need to stand up for the things we believe in.”

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While many of the protesters carried signs supporting Trump, Minew and many others carried hand lettered signs with slogans like “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet,” and “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” a quote from Doctor Seuss.

Minew said she supports the right of anyone to speak his mind, but the display of the swastika with Trump’s books below it “is not a great way to do this. In particular, a copy of an email Donoghue received, starting with F*** you, should not be posted in a store window that children pass frequently on their way to and from school.” The statement was included in a list of emails the bookstore has received since putting the display in the window.

Donoghue gave his reasons for the display. “I have been watching Trump rallies, and this was Nazi Germany,” Donoghue said. “Washing it was not doesn’t serve any function.” As he spoke, several customers stopped to thank him for putting up the display.

Opposing demonstrators Trump supporter Robert Morales and Clinton supporter Charles Potter outside the bookstore.

Opposing demonstrators Trump supporter Robert Morales and Clinton supporter Charles Potter outside the bookstore.

Donoghue said he supports the right of the protesters to be there, though they have not shown up previously, even though the sign has been up for three weeks. But, he told Minew, “I was motivated by the level of hatred I felt coming from Trump. It reminds me of the brown shirt movement in Germany.”

Would Donoghue sell the books by Trump displayed in his window? “I’m a businessman,” he said. “I’m in the business of selling books; I’m not censoring them.”

While Minew deplores the language and symbolism of the signs in the bookstore, she said, she believes the people who supported the bookstore had every right to be there. “I’m standing in the middle, not on either side; Charlie is a good guy and I support his right to express himself.” She was speaking of Clinton supporter Charles Potter.

Potter commented “I believe the sign should be there; it’s freedom of speech. The owner of a bookstore has the right to demonstrate his beliefs in any way he chooses.”

Robert Morales, a demonstrator, put his criticism of the Democrats, and especially the Clintons, in stronger terms. “They have no morality; they want to control the government. I would vote to send Hillary to prison (if that were on the ballot).” He started a chant of “Hillary for Prison,” but it was short lived.

Jules Taylor disputed Minew’s claim that the event was non-partisan. “She is an aspiring politician and well known as Trump supporter,” he said. “She says she organized this protest as a non-partisan event, but I believe she organized it for 3 p.m. when kids are leaving school.” Indeed, a stream of children passed by the rally at 3 p.m. when school let out.

“The swastika is offensive to every religion,” said Frank Rea. “Millions of people have died under it.” Rea also recalled Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s words to Richard Nixon in 1959:”We will not fire a missile; you will self destruct from within.” That prophecy could come true, he said, but “Trump is here to prevent that.”

While the gathering sometimes became noisy, it remained peaceful, and at times the Trump supporters and their opponents stood beside each other in the lines.

There are 12 comments

  1. Marc Baer

    Trump is going to lose. The Senate will be Democratic. Bernie Sanders will be running the budget committee!! The days of elitist anarchy are numbered!! If you think Trump has ethics, he admits to having paid no taxes and is proud of it. If he is the President, he is the most immune from the law, so then he will magically represent you. Send me your ATM card and PIN number so I can make a deposit for you.

  2. anthony

    It’s funny he say’s it reminds him of the Brown shirts of Hitler.. So this should have Hillary’s name on it not Trump Tapes prove it was the Democrats who paid agitators to cause trouble at the Trump rallies… I guess his mind didn’t inquire to well. Just a liberals twisted mind blaming someone else for their short comings. In this movement he is the leader of the brown shirt movement in Saugerties.

  3. W Sage Hopmeier

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone republicans are often referred to as Hitler like. It’s the easiest way to dismiss and denigrate someone who disagrees with you (like grade school). Probably really doing it to drum up business. Good luck! I’ll continue to buy my books online.

  4. Steven L Fornal

    Kudos to Brian Donoghue. He was intent on bringing attention to Trump as fascistic and has had amazing results. People are discussing and that’s always good.

    As for the Trump supporters’ statements, sounds like they LOVE talking about the US Constitution but HATE living within its parameters.

    Free speech is precisely that speech one loathes. Anything else is a cop out; an appeal to allow ONLY what they feel is correct, righteous, whatever. That is NOT free speech.

    Again, Brian Donoghue, I commend you for your courage and intelligent way in going about this very serious issue. Donald Trump is, indeed, dangerous.

    Of course, Hillary might be even more so and with a deep background to get her programs for American Exceptionalism abroad into action. God help the world…

  5. TheRedDogParty

    The swastika has been a symbol of many cultures including Native Americans and peoples from South Asia. It’s unfortunate that many symbols (and words) have been appropriated by different causes, rendering their original meanings and intentions offensive.

    One of my favorite expressions, from the United Kingdom ‘torch a fag’ simply means let’s smoke a cigarette.

    While displaying a Nazi flag is abhorrent, so long as no one is harmed by it’s display, exercise of freedom of speech in the United States is absolute.

    Mr. Donohue’s sign merely is an Op-Ed on Mt. Trump’s rhetoric.

  6. Alain Dousset

    This bookstore should change its name, “The Not Very Bright Mind” or “The Narrow Mind” or even ” The Real Deplorable Mind”. I saw the display 10 days ago and was horrified. I think using freedom of speech for such a display is an insult to the constitution, the victims of nazism, and it minimizes the horrors of the holocaust. Is this what democrats have become?

  7. Derek

    People who are mad that Trump is being compared to Hitler would do well to walk inside that store, ask the helpful clerk to find them “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and settle into a comfy chair for a long day of reading.

    If they can’t see the similarities between Trump and 1930s Hitler, then there is simply no educating them.

    Hitler didn’t rise to power promising ovens and concentration camps. He promised a return to economic dominance. He promised the expulsion of “undesirables”. He promised (to use a phrase) to “make Germany great again”.

    Reminding Americans of today exactly what the outcome could be, using the mistakes of the past, is a textbook example of what bookstores are *supposed* to be doing.

  8. Ben Franklin

    If Brian is as smart as they say he is, I would conclude that he would understand that his sign only fuels the neo nazi groups currently operating in this country. The first amendment cuts both ways; your ability to speak out is limited by the injury other citizens have to endure. Can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre or in this case at a crowded intersection in Saugerties. I would hope that this is not just a ploy to promote a bookstore.

    1. Derek

      There is nothing in this display that even comes close to the endangering of others that is relevant for the “fire in a crowded theater” reference.

      Nobody is “injured” or even under threat of injury by the display of a swastika and the association of that symbol with a political candidate.

  9. People Saugerties

    It is a Nazi flag first a big swastika in the window of Saugerties HOW HATEFUL IS THAT!
    All Jews and people of conscious will now boycott Inquiring Mind forever! We will never go into that store again – The owner must love Adolf Hitler to such a hateful thing… We all know what a big Nazi flag represents – It drives people crazy for the love of god take it down!!! ALL WE SEE IS A BIG NAZI FLAG…

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