Protesters denounce Trump during son's visit

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — Several members of the San Juan County Democratic Party and other county residents weathered rain and cold wind to protest the appearance of Donald Trump Jr. here today.

Debra Haaland, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, speaks at a press conference Friday at Colinas del Norte Park before Donald Trump Jr.'s visit to Farmington.

On the corner of Piñon Hills Boulevard and North Dustin Avenue across the street from Piñon Hills Community Church, a small group of protesters this afternoon  held signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and denouncing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Earlier in the day, officials from the state Democratic Party held a press conference in Colinas del Norte Park alongside North Dustin Avenue, just south of the church.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Hallland said New Mexico deserves better than the ticket of Donald Trump and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence. Haaland said she felt the policies of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez have failed, hurting New Mexico families.

“Only one candidate is committed to helping families and children, and that’s Hillary Clinton,” Haaland said.

San Juan County Democratic Party Chairman Henry Silentman, former Democratic state Rep. Albert Shirley and Farmington resident Gloria Lehmer also spoke at the event. Lehmer criticized Trump's treatment of women while citing Clinton's work for women's issues.

Henry Silentman, chairman of the San Juan County Democratic Party, speaks at a press conference Friday at Colinas del Norte Park before Donald Trump Jr.'s visit to Farmington.

Silentman and Lehmer later joined the group of protesters that stood in the rain to protest Donald Trump Jr., who was campaigning for his father here and in Shiprock. The size of the protest group varied from four to eight people. They held signs and shouted “Dump Trump” as cars on Piñon Hills Boulevard rolled by.

Farmington residents Jack Downey and Tyrel Sabin held homemade signs that supported the Communist Party. They were dressed in all black and wore white masks with hammer-and-sickle symbols drawn on them. Downey said he was protesting capitalism, adding that Trump embodies a system of oppression, hate and immorality.

The phrase “I’m a human with a soul, not a pawn for profit” was written on Downey’s mask.

Tyrel Sabin, middle, and Jack Downey, right, speak with a woman on the corner of Pinon Hills Boulevard and North Dustin Avenue while protesting a local appearance by Donald Trump Jr. on Friday.

After speaking with some of the protesters, both Sabin and Downey left the group after after roughly 45 minutes.

The protest was peaceful, aside from one incident. An unidentified man arrived at the protest and cursed at the protesters, yelling at them to remove their vehicles parked on his property. Shortly afterward, a Farmington Police Department officer advised the protesters to remove their vehicles and park along the street.

While waving a “Hombres for Hillary” sign, Silentman said he did not support the “ugly rhetoric” from Trump. An important issue for Silentman is ensuring equal rights for women, members of the LGBT community and Native Americans.

“Equality is on the ballot,” Silentman said.

San Juan County Democratic Party Chairman Henry Silentman, left, and Vice Chairman MP Schildmeyer hold signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outside Pinon Hills Community Church on Friday.

Shiprock resident Lorraine Clasuchee held a “Save Mother Earth” sign, along with an umbrella to stop the rain. She said she was concerned about Republicans taking control of elected offices and appointing someone to the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in the possible overturning of cases like Roe v. Wade.

Clasuchee also said she does not agree with Trump’s pledge to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

When Donald Trump Jr. arrived in Shiprock, a group of about 20 people were protesting both presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Clinton.

Teec Nos Pos. Ariz. resident Jordan Steele was among the group who protested Donald Trump Jr.'s appearance in Shiprock. They held signs outside the Shiprock Chapter house and later stood along U.S. Highway 64.

They also shouted, “Go home Trump,” and “Dooda Trump,” which loosely translated from Navajo means “No to Trump.”

Steele said the group was protesting because they view the younger Trump’s father and Clinton as “threats to the Navajo people.”

“They don’t care about us,” Steele said, adding both candidates are focusing on Navajo voters solely to reach the presidency.

“I don’t see them helping us,” he said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

Reporter Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this story.