TOMS RIVER – About a week before his indictment, former President Donald Trump urged his supporters to protest his pending arrest related to an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. While his arraignment is expected next week, supporters responded to that plea in front of the Let’s Go Brandon Store on Route 37.
The former president posted online that he would return to New York City to face unspecified charges in the Manhattan District Attorney’s ongoing investigation of him. Trump originally said he was expecting to be arrested despite no official word from prosecutors at that time. Trump was indicted on March 30 in New York City according to President Trump’s lawyers.
The local rally in Ocean County drew approximately 40 people who waved American flags, Trump flags and held up signs and banners near the highway. The event also provided the opportunity for speakers to promote the America First movement and gave some township GOP primary contenders a chance to campaign.
Several participants repeated that the 2020 election was stolen – a statement that every court, state election offices, and even Fox News hosts have said in court documents is “the big lie.”
Jeff Binder of Berkeley was among those at the rally and said he felt that investigators were pursuing the case against Trump because “they are afraid of him.”
Binder did say he felt his life was better when Trump was in office. “I wasn’t paying so much for everything. He and Jimmy Carter are the only presidents in like 40 years that didn’t start a new war.”
“They’ll do anything they can to stop him,” said another area protestor who held up a sign but wouldn’t disclose her name. She said her life during his term was “fantastic, no worries. I hope he runs again. I hope things turn around back to where they should be.”
That sentiment was echoed by a Toms River resident who also would not give her name saying she was concerned about her job. “I want to see him win as he did last time.” She felt things were better under the 45th president.
“The economy, everything, you name it. America was better and safe. Now I can’t afford my gas bill. I want a president who cares about America,” she added.
“I feel like it has become a circus,” said Tammy Greiss of Bayville, carrying an American flag. She was referencing the current political environment that is occurring on both sides of the political spectrum.
“No one is right or wrong and one party isn’t better than the other but if everybody came together no matter what you believe, as Americans, and supported each other, I think it would be so much better. Trump was a breath of fresh air,” Greiss added.
“I have been up since 5 o’clock this morning, this is my purpose. Let Trump do his job,” Margaret Reed of Toms River said. She carried a Trump flag but was also waving at the cars that passed by. She was in Manahawkin a week prior at a protest to save whales.
Reed noted that while some drivers beeped their horns a few put out their middle finger to them. “They don’t know. You got to feel sorry for them because they are ignorant,” she noted of the latter responders. “I had a better paycheck (during Trump’s tenure). Life was good and I could afford to put gas in my car and to eat,” Reed added.
“I want to see Trump finish what he was supposed to do. Can you imagine what would have happened, if that man wasn’t interrupted, where America would be today?” she pondered. “Right now, the world is laughing at us.”
Chaplain Rafi King carried a sign stating Jews for Trump and was among those who spoke at the rally in front of the store. “We are supporting President Trump since day one. President Trump proved himself again and again. He is there for all Americans There is no question that he won the 2020 election. It was rigged.”
Inside the store was a musician playing a guitar. Customers were checking out T-shirts, banners, flags, sweat shirts and other merchandise that catered to Trump’s supporter base.
The owners of the store that opened last year were pleased with the turnout and noted that since Trump had announced his expected arrest, business had picked up.
Gail Just of Sussex County traveled nearly two hours to be at the protest. She held up a sign stating “Trump was right about everything.”
Just said she was present “to support Donald Trump in his hour of need who they want to arrest on a criminal charge. What we know is the charges were all trumped up. You can’t go from a misdemeanor to a felony.” She said she was the very first female New Jersey State Trooper, 48 years ago.
Two young children were heard chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” an expression mocking current President Joe Biden. Their father Andy Gibson of Barnegat who does holographic advertising work wore a fan on his back that featured LED lights that stated “Trump 2024.”
Jersey Shore Online.com reached out to the organizations Ocean County Democrats and Toms River Democrats for comments for this article but neither replied at press time.