About two dozen people braved a cold, drizzly Presidents Day to express support for President Donald J. Trump and condemn Kingston’s status as a “sanctuary city” at a rally in the Town of Ulster. The event took place in front of the Burlington Coat Factory plaza, where participants were greeted with a mix of friendly waves, thumbs-up and raised middle fingers by passing drivers.
“Today is Presidents Day,” said Ulster County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Gaddy. “And we’re here because of the non-stop disrespect of the office of the president because some people don’t like, when the dust settled after the election, who won.”
The event was organized by the members of the Ulster County Conservative Committee and the crowd was heavy on party members. Bearing American flags, signs expressing support for Trump and one placard touting the immigration-reduction group “NumbersUSA” the demonstrators predicted a good showing for right-leaning candidates in November’s election. Bill Palmer, a Washingtonville resident, addressed the crowd from the back of a pickup truck bearing a window sticker of a cartoon Trump urinating on an NFL logo. Palmer said that Trump’s first year in office could be summed up with “trade, taxes and war” referring to the administration’s “America First” trade policy, the recently passed tax bill and success in the battle against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.
“We are winning at trade, taxes and war,” said Palmer. “Obama let [ISIS] chop everybody’s heads off, you don’t see them chopping off anybody’s heads now.”
Along with expressing support for Trump, the rally took aim at Kingston’s “sanctuary city” resolution. Passed in January 2017, the resolution dubbed “welcoming and inclusive city” by supporters codified a longstanding unwritten policy that Kingston police officers and other city employees do not inquire about immigration status during routine interactions with citizens. Mayor Steve Noble, who backed the law, said that city would also rely on guidance from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who issued a legal opinion last year illustrating how municipalities could lawfully limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
At the rally opponents of the policy said that the policy flouted the law and sent a message that the rules don’t apply in Kingston. City Conservative Party Chair Richard Cahill Jr. derided the policy as a political stunt enacted to appease liberals while lacking any real substance.
“[City officials’] job is not to make political statements,” said Cahill. “If they want to make political statements, they can come stand out in the rain like we are.”