The Island County Republican Party (ICRP) hosted a protest in support of President Trump this afternoon in downtown Oak Harbor. The event drew patriotic attired flag wavers lining the street at the corner of SR20 and Pioneer Way. As protestors demonstrated, passers-by vehemently expressed their support or disdain.
The event is an effort by the newly elected county party leadership to encourage engagement with the local community. “The important part about the rally today was to stand for the basic rights our Constitution affords us. Whether you support the President or hate him so much, you hate the people that support him; it doesn’t matter. We stand for our freedom to express it either way, peacefully,” said Morgan Cooper, the Island County Republican Party’s Vice-Chair.
The event drew its fair share of ire and disdain. Cars and trucks in support regularly honked horns and gave thumbs up. Those in opposition would either blast vulgar, hate-filled music aimed at the President, shout, or project obscenities towards the protestors. “We’re counting Communists and non-Communists,” commented Andy Valerosa, Executive Director of the Island County Young Republicans. When asked how he could tell the difference, he said, “The finger they use!”
As conservatives gathered in Oak Harbor, other protesters across the nation gathered in Washington DC while Congress met to accept elector’s ballots. The joint session was halted after protestors breached the Capitol building. Independent footage from the event showed Capitol Police allowing demonstrators onto the premises prior to the building’s breach. The session was evacuated to undisclosed locations when the building became infiltrated by the demonstrators. Tim Hazelo, Chair of the Island County Republican Party, expressed support for the Constitutionally protected freedoms Americans have always enjoyed. “I’m supportive of the cause but not the act of breaking into the Capitol. Of course, if left-wing ANTIFA or the fascist-anti-fascists had done the same, their actions would have been painted as justified. Violence is always the absolute last resort to protect liberty. We are not there yet.”
The new leadership of the Island County Republican Party appears prepared to continue to advocate for the cause of liberty despite the ire drawn from a vociferous few. “I encourage all people from all sides to join us on our journey to recover the greatness of our nation,” Hazelo expressed. For the county Republicans to repair the breach, leadership will need to stay engaged and patient.